WASHINGTON, DC, Tuesday July 29, 2014 – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today sent a letter with U.S. Representative Martha Roby to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who was confirmed by the Senate Tuesday afternoon.
The letter requests that Secretary McDonald provide a plan within 60 days that identifies the problems at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System (CAVHCS), what can be done to correct them, and a timeline for implementation. It also requests that Secretary McDonald visit the CAVHCS facility in Montgomery with Senator Shelby and Representative Roby in order to discuss the details of the plan.
An excerpt of the letter to Secretary McDonald is as follows:
"Reports regarding the treatment of veterans in Alabama are dire and appalling. While we have yet to see a comprehensive account of the allegations, it is our understanding that the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System (CAVHCS) has the eighth longest average wait times in the nation for veterans to receive care, even with its reported manipulated recordkeeping. Evidence shows that veterans’ x-rays have been lost, which may have in turn led to cancer and other life-threatening conditions going untreated. The leadership of the CAVHCS is alleged to have encouraged falsification of records and tolerated whistleblower intimidation and retaliation, which possibly continued and exacerbated the abuse.
To date, we do not believe that proper action has been taken to mitigate these allegations. Instead of swiftly working to fix the serious problems at the CAVHCS, all reports suggest that its leaders are focused on dodging blame and personal cost rather than serving veterans and providing the care and treatment promised. We have lost trust in the leadership at the CAVHCS."