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Donnelly, Coats Receive VA Response

June 17, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Dan Coats (R-IN) received a response late Thursday from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson regarding their recent letters expressing concern about Indiana VA health care facilities.

Donnelly said, “The gross misconduct recently identified in the OIG’s interim report and the VA’s own internal audit is unacceptable. Over the last two weeks, I have met with representatives from Indiana VA health care facilities to identify and better understand the challenges facing the delivery of timely and quality care to Hoosier veterans. While the VA continues to gather more information on facility-specific problems, I remain committed to working with the VA to ensure that all Hoosier veterans receive the quality care they deserve.”

Coats said, “As the VA’s internal audit revealed, too many Hoosier veterans are waiting too long to receive the care they have earned. Significant uncertainties about VA facilities in Indiana and across the country remain, and I will continue to push for answers. We also must eliminate the culture within the department that allowed this crisis to develop. As a veteran, I expect my country to fulfill its promises to those who serve. As a senator, I am committed to holding the VA accountable.”

The senators first sent a letter to then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki on May 20 that outlined their concerns about the widespread reports of misconduct at several VA Medical Centers nationally.

In a letter sent to Acting Secretary Gibson by the Indiana senators on June 5, they wrote, “We are troubled by new feedback and the latest news reports that have highlighted concerns about long wait times at VA facilities in Indiana. We have a responsibility to our Hoosier veterans and all Americans to be transparent about what has gone wrong…It is critical that we receive a complete and timely assessment of Indiana’s VA facilities so that Congress and the VA can take decisive, well-informed action to fix any problems at their source.”

Acting Secretary Gibson’s responses, dated June 11, 2014 and received June 12, 2014, are available here (Donnelly) and here (Coats).

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