Lampson Calls for VA to Look Into Clinics

Galveston County Daily News

May 6, 2008, Texas City, TX – U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Stafford, asked the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate reports of poor staff performance at two health care clinics in Galveston County.

In a letter dated April 30 to Veterans Affairs Secretary James B. Peake, Lampson said the complaints were alarming, but the most worrisome were reports of the staff’s poor performance at clinics in Texas City and Galveston.

“Several veterans have reported being told they cannot get regular tests ordered by doctors due to cost,” Lampson wrote. “These practices are simply unacceptable.”

Valor Healthcare of Miami manages the clinic under a contract through Veterans Affairs. A Valor spokeswoman said Monday the company’s protocol is to refer comment to the Veterans Affairs public affairs office.

A Veterans Affairs spokeswoman on Monday afternoon had no immediate comment on Lampson’s letter, which the congressman penned after a recent visit to the Texas City clinic.

In the letter, Lampson said the most common complaints were inconsistencies with staff answering phones, a lack of adequate transportation to and from the clinic and punctuality of appointments.

“The poor conditions at these two clinics have forced many veterans to travel upward of 100 miles to receive care at the DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston,” Lampson said.

“Our nation’s veterans, both young and old, are struggling with physical and mental health disabilities and should never be turned away or asked to have to wait months to receive treatment and benefits,” Lampson said.

The congressman urged Peake to fully investigate the matter and take immediate action to improve health care and service at both outpatient clinics.

“With appropriate resources and attention, I am certain these clinics will be able to provide a valuable resource and convenience to our community, while offering the best possible care to our nation’s veterans,” Lampson said.

Trevor Kincaid, a spokesman for Lampson, said Monday the congressman hasn’t heard from Veterans Affairs, but would continue to pursue the matter to ensure this is not a systemic problem for veterans.

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