November 02, 2017
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Rep. Steve Russell (OK-05) released a statement on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Inspector General (IG) report on the results of an investigation of the Oklahoma City VA Health Care System. This report is the result of a request made by Senators Inhofe and Lankford.
Earlier this Congress, Inhofe and U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced S. 1266, the Enhancing Veterans Care Act, which allows VA’s Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) directors and medical center directors to contract with outside entities to conduct investigations of their VA facilities.
“After a December 2015 USA Today article revealed severe problems at the Muskogee VA facility, I demanded, among other changes, an Inspector General report to identify and correct shortcomings in quality and access to care,” Inhofe said. “Today’s report is a step in the right direction and highlights the progress made after hiring Director Wade Vlosich, but we must do more to provide Oklahoma veterans with the quality of health care they deserve. That starts by using outside oversight to hold VA facilities to the same standards as private hospitals and by giving the VISN and medical center directors more authority to correct problems across the VA system—fixes that we address in the Enhancing Veterans Care Act.”
“Today’s report highlights the serious problems that have existed for years at the OKC VA Health Care System,” said Lankford. “Our Veterans deserve world class care and there is no excuse for not providing appropriate care to our heroes. Since Director Wade Vlosich was hired last year as the new Director, the OKC VA has significantly improved care and service. After meeting with the Director a few weeks ago to talk through their progress, I was encouraged by his team’s willingness to confront the issues and work hand-in-hand with the Inspector General. Director Vlosich and his team have already completed nine of the 24 recommendations and they are actively working to resolve the rest of the recommendations in the coming months. We all should support the work of Director Vlosich as he and his team continue to release staff that cannot get the job done and support hard working staff that have been trapped in a bad system for years. Our veterans deserve better care and more options for care.”
“One question our Oklahoma veterans have been asking for decades is, ‘Will the Oklahoma City VA hospital ever be fixed?’ The latest report seems to confirm that the answer is no,” Russell said.
Earlier this year, the VA IG released a report on the state of the Muskogee VA Health Care System, as requested by Inhofe. Read more here.