Murkowski: Alaska VA Report Confirms Worst Suspicions

Senator Lisa Murkowski shared the following reaction to the Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General report of the Alaska VA and Wasilla Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) done at her request and made public today:

“Today’s report of the Alaska VA doesn’t merely admit what many in our state already knew, it also confirms some of our worst suspicions: that the VA allowed veterans with serious health conditions to fall through the cracks, causing them to be denied potentially life-saving care.  It also identifies key quality management issues that go beyond the Wasilla CBOC and management deficiencies that we’ve been hearing about for over a decade. The report is devastating and disappointing, and I commend the OIG for making these difficult facts known.

“The VA needs to take this moment as a key crossroads and proceed to make the difficult yet necessary reforms that the Inspector General recommended, and do so with all due speed and commitment.  The fact that it is currently facing a new web of red tape due to the Choice Card demonstrates that creative, nimble thinking is needed to fully address the wide range of challenges the Alaska VA faces.

“We know there is a lack of follow-through in providing care and medical attention.  We know the Wasilla CBOC needs to be fully staffed.  We know the Alaska VA system is facing an overload of cases, a lack of scheduling organization and has systemic, long-term shortcomings in providing care.  But we must also come to know – through actions and positive reform – that the Alaska VA will reaffirm its commitment to the men and women who served this nation.

“It is time for a review not only of the national VA system, but also of the quality of management.”