U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Congressman John Larson (D-CT-1) joined Connecticut veterans today at the Veterans of Foreign War Post 2083 in East Hartford in seeking results of detailed audits to be conducted at all VA facilities. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki announced his department would conduct "face to face" audits of all VA medical facilities following reports of falsified wait lists and widespread treatment delays at VA medical facilities, including allegations up to 40 veterans may have died while waiting for treatment in Phoenix, Arizona.
Preliminary audit findings are due to the President next week. In a letter Friday to Secretary Shinseki, the Connecticut congressional delegation requested full details of those audits, including reports regarding the accuracy and duration of reported wait times for all appointments at Connecticut facilities, including the West Haven Campus, Newington Campus and all six Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Danbury, New London, Stamford, Waterbury, Willimantic and Winsted.
"The more I learn of misconduct and impropriety at VA facilities around the country involving falsified wait lists and widespread treatment delays potentially causing deaths and injuries , the more concerned and outraged I become. These horrific and reprehensible claims merit a full, comprehensive investigation," Blumenthal said. "While I am unaware of any similar allegations regarding such wrongdoing in Connecticut, a thorough audit of all facilities is warranted to restore public faith in the VA system and to ensure no other veterans are forced to endure the atrocious neglect and possible criminal wrongdoing alleged in Phoenix and elsewhere."
"The recent reports of misconduct call for a full investigation of our VA facilities in order to ensure every veteran is getting the care they deserve," said Larson. "I have been honored to meet with veterans over the past few weeks on this issue and know that as this investigation moves forward, results of these audits must be made available to both make sure the needs of our veteran community are being met and to help prevent any future mistreatment. I join the Connecticut Delegation in our commitment to the men and women who have fought for their nation and will be following this auditing process closely as we move forward."
"The VA scheduling controversy that has impacted medical centers nationally is deplorable, and must be addressed swiftly and effectively. When I met with Director Culliton last week, he assured me no significant problems have been found in Connecticut. He and his staff deserve credit for having their focus on patient care, just as it should be, and must be for our veterans throughout Connecticut and across our nation," said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3).
"After startling allegations regarding delayed care and falsified records at VA facilities made earlier this month, it is of utmost importance that the people's faith in the VA, including our local VA hospitals, be restored," said Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT-4). "I urge Secretary Shinseki to share the findings of Connecticut clinics' audits as soon as possible so that we can be sure our state's veterans are receiving the timely care they deserve and have earned."
"What we've discovered across the country is very disturbing and needs to be addressed swiftly and effectively. I join my colleagues in the delegation in calling for full transparency regarding the accuracy and duration of reported wait times in our state. Our veterans have sacrificed so much serving our country, and they deserve the best treatment," said Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT-5).