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Letter to Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs - Regarding Wait Times in Louisiana Veterans Facilities

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

May 23, 2014

Secretary Eric K. Shinseki
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420

Dear Secretary Shinseki:

Many people might be shocked by the reports released almost daily of gross ineptitude and, in some cases, lawlessness running rampant throughout the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA). However, in my dealings with the VA under your watch, this all seems par for the course. If not for bureaucratic errors made by the VA, new Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in Lafayette and Lake Charles, LA would be nearing completion. When I asked you personally to make this situation right and help me find a solution to building these needed clinics, in blatant disregard to the needs of veterans in Louisiana, you let it be known you would be of no help.

Given this, I am sad to say I am not surprised in the least by reports that in 2010 twenty-three employees at the VA Overton Brooks Medical Center in Shreveport, LA were placed on leave as a result of an investigation into document forgeries, and that this move was only revealed in federal whistleblower lawsuits.

As the credibility of the VA is in shambles, I demand you take action immediately to fix the reprehensible conduct being perpetrated at your Department. I want assurance that Louisiana veterans are not affected by this wait time crisis. As you oversee the review of your Department, I request you provide all relevant details concerning veteran care in wait time in the state of Louisiana. I specifically request a full accounting of the average time veterans must wait in between requesting care and receiving the treatment they need. Finally, I request assurances that no unofficial wait lists, like those reported to exist in Phoenix, AZ, are prevalent at any VA facility in the state.

Our veterans have served our nation proudly and bravely, and were promised that their healthcare needs would be met. We owe them that. As Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, it is your duty to see that this promise is adequately and promptly fulfilled. Do your job.

Sincerely,

David Vitter
United States Senate


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