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Press Release

Loebsack and Bustos Seek Answers from VA on Veterans Care

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Washington, October 9, 2018 | Joe Hand (202-225-6576) | comments
Following a recent report from USA Today, Representatives Dave Loebsack and Cheri Bustos sought answers from the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure our veterans are receiving the highest possible quality of care. Specifically, the USA Today report showed that the VA had cancelled more than 250,000 radiology orders at VA hospitals across the country, including the Iowa City VA Hospital, since 2016. In light of this discovery, Loebsack and Bustos called on Secretary Robert Wilkie to answer a number of questions regarding the appointment cancellations and what steps the VA is taking to notify and ensure that medical care is not disrupted for any veterans who have been affected.

“Veterans in Iowa and across the nation deserve the best care possible from our VA hospitals. According to this report, the VA has clearly fallen short. We must get answers from the VA about how many vital appointments were cancelled and what steps they are taking to ensure this doesn’t happen again. I look forward to the VA’s timely response,” said Congressman Loebsack.  

“We owe our freedom to the service and sacrifice of our courageous veterans," said Congresswoman Bustos. “When our veterans return from harm's way, they should expect top notch care from the VA. I was deeply disturbed to learn of this alleged mismanagement at the Iowa City VA and we are demanding answers."

The text of the letter is below. Click here for a copy of the signed letter.

The Honorable Robert Wilkie
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, D.C. 20420

Dear Secretary Wilkie:

We are writing you today with concerns regarding the recent reporting that the VA Inspector General is auditing hospitals across the country, including the Iowa City VA Hospital, for failing to follow proper procedures when cancelling some patients’ medical services.  We are deeply concerned that these mass cancellations may have negatively impacted the quality of care that our veterans are entitled to receive for their years of dedicated service.

In light of these concerns, we respectfully request your prompt response to the following questions:

1)    What is the guidance given to VA hospitals regarding scheduling practices? Do cancellations require the approval of a physician?

2)    What steps is the VA taking to clarify the approved cancellation protocol for VA staff to ensure compliance with this standard going forward?

3)    Is the VA aware of how many medical services were improperly cancelled since January 2017?  Of those, how many improperly cancelled services were necessary for patients’ medical care?  

4)    Since January 2017, how many of these improperly cancelled services happened specifically at the Iowa City VA Hospital?

5)    What steps is the VA taking to notify and ensure that medical care is not disrupted for patients who have been affected?

We look forward to receiving your response to these questions no later than October 19, 2018. Our highest priority is ensuring that our veterans receive the highest possible quality of care, and we look forward to working with you toward this shared commitment.


Dave Loebsack
Member of Congress

Cheri Bustos
Member of Congress
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Tags: Veterans

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