Senator Burr Says VA Decision Lacks ‘Common Sense’

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Senator Burr Letter

Benjamin KrauseIn a letter to Secretary Robert McDonald, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) called out the agency for urgent health care referral decisions that lack “common sense.” The agency’s idiocy centers around the Wilmington, NC, VA Health Care Center.

VA has to this point ignored problems with water safety that were confirmed by the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. Since March 23, VA failed to address the problems. As a result of the failure, certain services have been suspended at the facility such as gastrointestinal, urology and dental procedures.

Compounding problems, VA has refused to refer veterans affected by the problems who seek urgent care services into the community for safe and local health care. Instead, VA bean counters are forcing veterans to travel to Fayetteville VA Medical Center for urgent care matters. Essentially, they are forcing veterans to travel up to 40 miles for potential emergencies.

DOWNLOAD: Senator Burr Letter About Wilmington VA

Veterans Affairs Letter From Senator Richard Burr

Dear Secretary McDonald:

I write to convey my growing concerns regarding the lack of access to certain health care services that veterans are experiencing due to water safety problems at the Wilmington, North Carolina, VA Health Care Center (HCC). On March 19, 2015, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority received a water quality complaint from the Wilmington HCC. The utility tested the water inside the clinic, determined there was an interior plumbing problem, and advised the HCC to stop using the water on March 23. The efforts to correct the water quality problems are now in their third month.

These water problems have forced the suspension of gastrointestinal, urology and dental procedures at the HCC. While VA says that it is referring patients requiring urgent care procedures to community providers at VA expense, I have heard from concerned veterans who tell me VA is not fully honoring its commitment to refer urgent care patients to community providers and that patients are, in some cases, being required to travel beyond forty miles to receive care at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center. I understand that Fayetteville’s forty mile radius and Wilmington’s overlap to some extent, but if this “overlap” is part of the reasoning for having veterans travel further for care which is available locally, it defies common sense and may also defy good medical sense.

I am requesting your department provide a briefing to my Washington DC staff before July 25, 2015, with data on the status of all delayed and rescheduled patient appointments at the Wilmington HCC, all urgent care referrals from the Wilmington HCC to community providers in the Wilmington area, and all urgent care referrals from the Wilmington HCC to the Fayetteville VA Medical Center since the reduction in services due to the water problems identified in March. As part of that briefing, I would also like to receive an update on what VA is doing to ensure work at the HCC continues without delay to bring the water to an acceptably safe standard that will permit resumption of all HCC services and how VA will relieve the backlog of appointments after full services resume.

Sincerely,

Richard Burr

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21 Comments

  1. So am I understanding this correct in that the VA is NOT allowing Veterans to use the “Choice Card Program”, but rather requiring them to travel to and beyond this “40 mile as a crow flies” when it was only a few months ago Sec. McDonald said this “40 mile as a crow flies” would be “looked into changing”? Are they STILL only looking into it or simply ignoring Congress yet again?
    See, if the VAMC’s were subject to State Certifications and Inspections, this would NOT be allowed to have UNSAFE WATER at ANY medical facility for this long, especially if it was a local water treatment plant…but this sounds like it’s simply a case of the VAMC’s old and poor plumbing that’s very well not able to pass ANY civilian municipal water standards…this makes one wonder just how *sterile procedures* are maintained there? How many Veterans have become sick from these conditions BEFORE that facility finally realized they had *something bad* in their water supply?

    See, the very reason there’s such a wealth of daily/weekly/yearly serious issues at ANY given VAMC across our Great Nation…there’s a systemic problem, and if these SAME LOOSERS are the ones training NEW VA Employees, it only ensures a corrupt system remains so.

    Does anyone know what was found in the water there or is the VA keeping that under wrap?

    • Hey brother, I wonder how many have gone to the (civilian) emergency room(s), and the VA refused to pay for it. Also, did any Veteran die because of it. I ask this because, remember what happened in Philadelphia VA and at the “new Lake Nona VA facilities” in Orlando, Florida?

  2. Let’s see, he’s giving the VA to 25 July 2015 to give the info he requested. Y’all know how that’s going to go. The VA has a history of ‘manufacturing’ data. I’m not saying they will falsify it, but they don’t have a very good history of telling the truth. I’m just saying!!!!!
    Well, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we.
    Even if, and I do mean IF, they tell the truth, how much longer will the Veterans at that facility have to wait for their healthcare?

  3. Coons, Carper and Carney are doing the same thing in Wilmington when the political election clock starts, they come out the woodwork. This madness is a direct reflection of the Civil Service laws that need to be looked at again and end the Merit Systems. The Congress needs to be reformed by The People , For the People. If the Boston Tea was started with 60 members of the Sons of liberty dressed up as Indians to revolt the lowering of taxes on a particular company, I am pretty sure there is a way veterans can unite to minimize revenue or appropriations the VA recieves in protest for no accountability. Very important for us all to gather what data we can that putting the financial pressure on, to hold them accountable. The old saying is follow the money trail.

  4. Here’s a question, Why can’t Mr. McDonald do two things (once he received the Senator’s letter). First, call the water company to find out what needs to be done to correct the problem. I’m sure they would let him know the facts. Secondly, contact the administration of that VA facility. Let him know, in no uncertain terms, the problem IS to be fixed on, or before, his 25 July 2015 ‘dead-line’ with the Senator’s request. Or he will be replaced! It’s not rocket science. Start putting dead lines on the VA, on all egregious acts committed by VA employees (from top to bottom) and then follow through with what you say. In essence, cut the bull and force results!

    • I agree. 3 months is BS, and forcing vets to travel for urgent care rather than getting it locally because someone is too lazy and stupid to fix a plumbing problem is ridiculous.
      I’m curious though. Does this VA have its own water supply fed by a local water utility? Of so, how did the local utility find out about the contamination? Did some maintenance worker, tired of excuses give them a heads up? I have been told the Grand Junction VA has a problem with Legionella contamination in their water system such that VA employees refuse to drink it. I was also told they were trying to fire the maintenance manager while he was out on sick leave. It would be nice to know the facts either way. It would also be nice to see water test results from there.
      Finally, this is what Congressmen should be doing everywhere. Hearing complaints, and demanding the VA respond to them with concrete, measurable actions.

      • With the Election Machine already starting to ramp-up, now is the time to keep what Ben and we all have been doing and keeping this in the radar…if there’s a Town Hall for whatever candidate, whatever Party, ensure our voice as veterans are heard. Since most of these Bureaucrats are self serving ba$tard$, we might as well use their “limelight moments” also to our getting the word out that the VA being needed to be cleaned-up remains more than a blip on people’s limited attention span these days.

        Yes we can!

  5. “The efforts to correct the water quality problems are now in their third month.” When does this become unacceptable, July 25th? This was unacceptable a week after it was discovered.

    I was TDY at Sheppard AFB, TX in the 80s and there was a problem with the drinking water but it was corrected in about 24 hours.

    The VA Manger at Wilmington, North Carolina, VA Health Care Center (HCC) should be given 24 hours notice to give an acceptable response and a fix date as-well-as what will be done for the Veterans during the interim.

    I would let them know that an investigation will be forth coming to determine what went wrong, lessons learned, and any negligence found will be dealt with by disciplinary action to include firing individuals.

    • Sorry, I was being optimistic over the VA to do the right thing.
      But, I definitely like your ideas better.
      Fyi, when I was aboard ship, USS Raleigh LPD-1 (1975-76), we would lose “potable (drinking) water” due to contamination. It was fixed within hours.
      Evidently none of the VA employees, from top to bottom, ever served their country onboard a ship. If the had, they would have had it fixed within a few days.
      And I dare anyone, in the VA or in government, to doubt what I have just written on here!!!!!

      • Those LPD water potable systems go through hell. LAL and legionella testing was almost obsolete back then. ecoli , gardiasis was the primary concern then. Conversion of salt to fresh became tricky because of extended deployments and additives placed in the water. The primary concern with that facility would be Dialysis, because of the many contaminates need to be removed from the water including chlorine, aluminum and any metals and sediment filters that need tobe changed regularly. UV and special pipe fittings and water supply tubing alone will not cut it. This is very dangerous for Dialysis patients, if they are hooked to a central distribution system. So, it is an immediate health and safety issue, depending on the water supply.

      • You are right that the fix should be within a few days; tops. The VA has been dragging their feet getting the water quality back up to standards.

  6. Here’s something I just thought of, 1.) When was the water first found to be contaminated? 2.) Did the Director contact anyone above him/her to try to get it resolved? 3.) If not, why try to cover it up when a civilian water management company was involved? The VA should have known a great story, such as this, would not have stayed silent for long. 4.) Why didn’t the Director, having some basic intelligence YOU WOULD THINK, comtact a reputable plumbing company, and get the problem resolved ASAP. At that point, he/she would have gained a great deal of respect from all the Veterans under him/her. 6.) He could then say to ALL the news media, I work for my VETERANS/PATIENTS. If Washington, had got huffy over his/her decision to correct a bad situation, he could have told them where to stick it!!!
    Does it take so much thinking to correct a wrong??????????

    • I was stationed at Camp Lejeune in the 1950’s. My 2 sons that were born there have bone deficiency and one is cripple. the VA has refused any help!

    • I would hope a story, such as this, would bring MANY more such stories to light. Not only from veterans while in their respective services, but from veterans dealing with the VA over this very same issue!

    • VA DEATHCARE ONE BIG BIG FEDERAL RICO CRIME RACKET RUN BY @ FOR AFGE UNION CONTRACTS VETS YO ARE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SCREWED AGIN BY PENDEJO VA CRAP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. If Northern California VA Health Care System was investigated they would be shut down until real doctor’s and qualified personnel could be found! FTVA!

    • @bruce Wallace-

      You forgot to use *VA MATH*, which would mean the “9 others” would then sub-contract that “turning of the ladder”, while skimming off the top of an exaggerated appropriations acquired from Congress to “Get the job done for our Veterans”.

  8. 06/19/2015

    Dear Senator Burr,

    The VA Hospitals have gone criminal.

    There is nothing but acts of Treason in every move they take.

    Secretary Bob McDonald has not returned any of my correspondence nor has he made any written communications since I had last shook hands with him on 08/08/2014 in the Basement of the Phoenix VA [293 Dead]. Bob was handed 3,000 pages of research on the VA Problem–the first 4 books.

    When common sense leaves the room Treason is invited in.

    There is no Blurred Lines here—just review the 1998 Cox Report.

    What is in the water is Death, what is in the air silence, these people are wasting your remaining time, and they are bringing down the country.

    When will the Senators realize they fell in a trap? When will the representatives provide cover for the Senators? When will the veterans themselves really move on to the Phoenix VA instead of a an occasional media cameo?

    Who are the dead at the Phoenix VA [293 dead in Phoenix, the figure was released by Major Media Outlets], what are their ages, what did they die from, etc… It has been over a year now and we do not have this information?

    Where are the 17 investigative reporters that are down the Street [The Arizona Republic/Gannett/USA Today/many other newspapers around the country] with the Polk Award winner Dennis Wagner?

    Senator Boxer why the silence?

    Senator Baldwin and other Senators calls “3 part Tomah, Wisconsin Cocktail,” mindless—it is wanton. Who are the 33 Dead in Wisconsin?
    “We do not treat—-we medicate.”
    https://hotair.com/archives/2015/06/04/video-va-official-admits-that-system-overprescribes-drugs-hooks-vets/
    It is a Damn Shame that our country once again has failed in their worthiness.

    Sabotaging the Truth and putting a hole in the Future.

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg
    Congressional Candidate in California 92 and in Arizona, first ran in 2002
    Defender of the C-17 [Flirting With Disaster 10/31/91 Article].

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