Washington, DC (HNN) — U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, called for fully providing for the growing medical needs of the nation’s veterans. Byrd asked Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Secretary Jim Nicholson to look into reports that some VA hospitals are ‘juggling the books’ to make it appear that the wait time for appointments are shorter than they really are.
“While the VA continues to address the injuries and unique illnesses suffered by Vietnam and Persian Gulf War Veterans, they also have to accommodate a new set of injured warriors,” said Byrd. “The VA must be ready to step up to this daunting challenge.”
Byrd secured an additional $1.7 billion for the VA in the recently passed Senate version of the emergency supplemental. In its original request to Congress for supplemental funding, the White House did not request any new funds for the VA, despite the massive influx of new cases from Iraq and Afghanistan and the worsening crisis in veterans’ health care.
“The continued neglect of America’s seriously injured veterans demands an emergency response from Congress,” Byrd said. “I am at a complete loss as to why this Administration does not feel the same way.”
Recently, Senators Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, also D-W.Va., asked Mountain State veterans to share their experiences – good and bad – at VA facilities.
“In West Virginia, we received positive comments regarding the quality of care provided by staff at the VA hospitals, but very negative comments when it came to securing appointments, processing claims, and the VA administration, particularly in the regional offices,” Byrd said.
Byrd and Rockefeller are encouraging veterans to write to their Senate offices with their reports. The Senators also have established special email addresses for West Virginia veterans — firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.