Senator Tim Scott Continues to Press For Answers from the Department of Veterans Affairs For South Carolina’s Veterans
Washington, DC- On the heels of the Senate passage of bi-partisan legislation to strengthen access for veterans to health care services and reform the Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) continues to press the Obama Administration for answers for South Carolina veterans and their families. Today, Senator Scott wrote Veterans Affairs Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson requesting answers about the existence of backlogs, official waiting lists, “secret” waiting lists or unauthorized scheduling lists that exist at all 13 Veteran Health Administration facilities in South Carolina. Today’s letter follows Senator Scott’s veteran listening sessions and office hours where he talked with veterans and learned first-hand the problems they are experiencing at the VA. A short video round up of those visits are availableHERE. “Last week, I engaged in a statewide listening tour to hear veterans’ concerns about the Veterans Health Administration and the services it is supposed to provide firsthand. After hearing many troubling stories from veterans and their families throughout the state, I am concerned South Carolina’s veterans may not be getting the best possible care,” said Senator Scott. “As part of my office’s inquiry into these reports, I am continuing to press for answers about the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, SC; the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, SC and the numerous Community Based Outpatient Facilities that they service.” The Department of Veterans Affairs operates two VA medical centers (Charleston and Columbia) and 11 community based outpatient clinic (Aiken, Anderson, Beaufort, Florence, Goose Creek, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Orangeburg, Rock Hill, Spartanburg, and Sumter) in South Carolina. Senator Scott’s request addresses all 13 facilities and seeks answers to the following seven questions by Friday, June 20, 2014:
1. Since January 2009, what are the monthly backlog totals for each VA facility in South Carolina?
2. Was there ever a “secret” waiting list or unauthorized scheduling list created and/or maintained at any VA facility?
3. How many VA employees had knowledge of or participated in the creation and/or maintenance of any “secret” waiting list or unauthorized scheduling lists? Please provide a list of those individual’s names, titles and any bonuses or performance awards received since January 2009.
4. How many patients died while on an official or “secret” waiting list at each VA facility?
5. How many patients’ deaths are alleged to be related to any delay in care at each VA facility?
6. Since January 2009, how many senior facility staff received bonuses or performance awards at each VA facility?
7. Since January 2009, what is the total dollar amount spent on bonuses and awards for senior facility staff at each VA facility?
Senator Scott’s letter to Acting Secretary Gibson goes on to say, “I’m sure you too share this concern and hope we can work together to address the challenges facing the VA in South Carolina and the rest of the nation. I know you agree with me that while we owe our veterans a debt that we cannot repay, the least we can do is ensure nothing but the best care for them and their families.” Last month, the exposure of these actions prompted Senator Scott to lead a group of 24 Senate colleagues in asking the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation to launch an immediate, independent investigation of mismanagement, incompetence and corruption at the Department of Veterans Affairs. A copy of the letter to Subcommittee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and Subcommittee Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) is availableHERE. A copy of Senator Scott’s letter to Acting Secretary Gibson is availableHERE.