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Feingold, Kohl, Obey Seek Assurances Vets are Getting the Care they Need

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Wisconsin Congressional Leaders Address Concerns Heard from Veterans about Rice Lake and Hayward Clinics

U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Herb Kohl (D-WI), and Congressman Dave Obey (D-WI) are seeking assurances that Wisconsin veterans are getting the care they need from veterans' outpatient clinics in Hayward and Rice Lake, Wisconsin. In a letter to the Veteran Affairs Upper Midwest Health Care Network, the Wisconsin congressional leaders want to know why the Hayward outpatient clinic has only been reopened for two days a week after it was closed last year. Feingold, Kohl, and Obey also expressed concern about reports that the two clinics in northwest Wisconsin are not upholding a VA policy to ensure all appointments for service-connected veterans are made within 30 days.

"After hearing from many Wisconsin veterans and visiting the Rice Lake clinic since it reopened, I am more convinced than ever that our state needs both outpatient clinics to meet the needs of the veterans living in the area," Feingold said. "While I am pleased the VA - rather than a private contractor - will be running the clinics and that the VA has hired an additional doctor, I want to ensure that this new staff will be sufficient to meet the needs of veterans in the area and that our veterans are receiving good, timely care when they need it."

"Our veterans deserve the medical attention they need when it is needed," Kohl said. "It is essential that clinics treating veterans are accessible and can ensure quality care for those who have served the nation."

"Veterans in northwest Wisconsin waited too long for these clinics to open in the first place," Obey added. "The performance of the contractor left doubt about the commitment of the VA to serving Northwoods veterans. Turning the clinics into VA run facilities is a step in the right direction, but their performance from here on out will be the true measure of whether they are delivering on that commitment."

Feingold, Kohl, and Obey have been leading voices for veterans served by the veterans' outpatient clinics in Hayward and Rice Lake. The lawmakers expressed outrage over the clinics' abrupt closures late last year and they will continue to work to ensure the VA provides the best care for Wisconsin veterans.

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