Davis Meets with VA Under Secretary Shulkin
Because Waiting for the VA Is Not the Same As Waiting In Line for Space Mountain
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today met with Veteran Affairs (VA) Under Secretary David Shulkin to discuss issues veterans are having with VA facilities throughout Central and Southwest Illinois. Specifically, Davis followed up on a letter he sent the VA concerning long hold times and 20 percent dropped call rates, down from 40 percent last year, at the Springfield Outpatient Clinic as well as the revolving door of directors at the St. Louis VA, which has contributed to inadequate care at the facility.
“I was extremely disappointed in Secretary McDonald’s poor choice of words earlier today because I believe it highlights the VA’s overall ineptness to lessening wait times and reducing the backlog of cases,” said Davis. “However, I’m more interested in how we’re going to solve this problem for veterans. I was encouraged by Under Secretary Shulkin’s plan to address dropped call rates in Springfield and I offered my support in helping him find a permanent director for the St. Louis VA when he travels to the area next week. I plan to have as many conversations and meetings with VA leaders and advocate for whatever legislation necessary to ensure veterans in my district are getting the care they need.”
Shulkin indicated that next week the Springfield clinic’s call center will be absorbed by the Danville VA and two additional staff will be brought on to decrease dropped call rates. He also noted that he will be travelling to St. Louis on June 3rd to meet with the medical community in search for a permanent director for the St. Louis VA, which has been without one since 2013. Davis sent a letter earlier this year advocating for a permanent director. Additionally, the two discussed the House VA appropriations bill passed last week, which gives greater flexibility for the VA to improve the Choice Program and increases their budget by three percent.
Davis also advocated for his legislation, H.R. 3335, the Access to Veterans Benefits Improvement Act, to increase transparency within the claims process through the VA so veterans can get the answers they need more quickly.