Sinema: VA Can Build Reputation With 'Excellent Service'

Published: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 5:00am
Updated: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 3:00pm
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(Photo by Mariana Dale - KJZZ)
U.S. Reps. Phil Roe and Krysten Sinema toured the Phoenix VA Medical Center on April 11, 2017.

Three years ago this week, the news broke that veterans might have died waiting for care from the Phoenix VA health-care center.

The head of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Tennessee Congressman Phil Roe, and U.S. Rep. Krysten Sinema of Arizona on Tuesday visited the hospital where the scandal started.

Since 2014, the Phoenix VA has hired hundreds of new employees and directed some patients to private practices to get veterans care faster.

“I think the best way to build trust is to provide excellent service,” Sinema said. “Because veterans will share with other veterans about whether or not they’ve received excellent service.”

The choice program is available to vets who have waited more than 30 days for VA medical care or who face obstacles to receiving care such as living more than 40 miles away.

An NPR investigation broadcast in January found VA medical centers still struggle to hire staff and reduce wait times.

Roe patients should get the best care possible, whether it’s public or private.

“I want the veteran to be in charge of that system,” he said.

Sinema and Roe said pending legislation will help increase accountability and expand veterans’ choice for health care.

To hear an interview with Mariana Dale on The Show, click here.

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