Thune proposes legislation to protect the VA Hospital in Hot Spr - KOTA Territory News

Thune proposes legislation to protect the VA Hospital in Hot Springs

Thune proposes legislation to protect the VA Hospital in Hot Springs

Amid national reports of secret VA wait lists possibly resulting in preventable deaths, the Department of Veterans Affairs announces plans to move forward with a contractor to conduct an environmental impact statement on the Hot Springs VA Hospital. But one senator wants the VA to take a step back.

U.S. Senator John Thune from South Dakota introduced legislation to require the VA's inspector general to issue a report on VA wait times.
The legislation would also prohibit the VA from closing any health care facilities or using any funds to conduct environmental impact statements concerning closures until the report is released.

And if the IG's report shows the veteran appointments were intentionally delayed, the legislation would restrict the VA's closing of medical facilities or using funds for environmental impact statements until the delays were resolved.

ABC News reports as many as 40 veterans died while waiting nearly 2 years to see a doctor at the Phoenix, AZ VA hospital. The VA's inspector general is also investigating 23 other deaths at 13 VA hospitals nationwide.

"There are lots of management issues at the VA right now and lots of poor decision making. And so we don't want poor decisions to be made that are going to limit or in any way restrict access that our veterans have to health care facilities in South Dakota, said Thune.

Thune says VA Secretary Eric Shinseki will appear before the VA committee of the U.S. senate Thursday. He hopes potential solutions to this problem will come out of that committee.

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