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Letter: Rep. Smith says ‘America’s veterans deserve the best care possible, as soon as possible’


On June 9, the Department of Veterans Affairs released the results of a nationwide audit that examined problems surrounding access to care for millions of America’s veterans.

According to the report, schedulers at 76 percent of VA facilities had engaged in the practice of misreporting appointment requests to hide long waiting lists for veterans seeking care. Thirteen percent of scheduling staff interviewed said that they had received direct instruction from supervisors or others to falsify medical appointment records.

The audit found that 57,000 veterans nationwide are waiting for care. In San Antonio alone, 837 veterans are on wait lists. Last week, I spoke with a veteran who has been waiting more than two years for oral surgery. This is inexcusable. America’s veterans deserve the best care possible, as soon as possible.

I recently met with Secretary Sloan Gibson to discuss what the VA is doing to help San Antonio veterans who are stuck on long waiting lists. I was reassured that he sincerely wants to fix the problem. And I appreciate that he is taking seriously the new allegations of misconduct at Audie Murphy Memorial Hospital in my district. Further review at Audie Murphy Hospital is needed to help make sure that San Antonio veterans get the care they need and deserve.

America’s veterans have made tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms. They deserve the best health care, not delayed health care. I am committed to continuing to fight to ensure that San Antonio veterans have the best care that our nation can provide.

San Antonio

LAMAR SMITH, a San Antonio Republican, represents Texas’ 21st Congressional District, which includes parts of the corridor counties of Bexar, Comal, Hays and Travis Counties as well as Blanco, Gillespie, Kendall, Bandera and Real counties in the Texas Hill Country.

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2 Comments (Open | Close)

2 Comments To "Letter: Rep. Smith says ‘America’s veterans deserve the best care possible, as soon as possible’"

#1 Comment By Robert Harloff On 06/11/2014 @ 10:34 am

I would like to ask Rep. Smith two questions: how many times in the past five years did the US House of Representatives vote to reduce spending for veterans health care? How many times did he vote against increasing spending for veterans health care?

Just go back to February and March of this year and count the Republican votes against providing additional funding for veterans health care.

Then let’s ask the US Senate why they allowed Sen. Mitch McConnell to filibuster a funding bill in May of this year that would have increased spending for the VA.

You can’t have it both ways, Mr. Smith. You and your Republican colleagues have cut spending to the bone and now wonder why the VA is in such poor shape. Imagine that!

#2 Comment By skeptical On 06/11/2014 @ 12:26 pm

There was no spending reduction. The discretionary budget has increased by a bunch in the last five years, yet the amount spent did not provide better care. So incompetence is the evil, not austerity, imagine that — http://www.va.gov/budget/docs/summary/Fy2015-FastFactsVAsBudgetHighlights.pdf