More Veterans Affairs inspectors headed to Memphis VA Medical Center

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There is more fallout from the Office of Inspector General’s report on the Veteran Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.

Now all hospitals,  including the VA Medical Center in Memphis, will have to open their records to show how they are caring for veterans.

The Office of Inspector General is now expanding a probe into all VA centers to see how long veterans are waiting for care.

WREG spoke with the OIG Thursday. While OIG officials are planning to visit several VA facilities, they aren’t revealing which ones or when they will be on site.

The Memphis VA has confirmed to WREG inspectors sent by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs have made multiple visits here and have more scheduled.

It comes after years of complaints from Memphis veterans.

“It took me over 18 months to get my first appointment,”  Navy Veteran James Smith of Henderson said.

He ran into big delays at the Memphis VA as he was trying to get treatment for hearing loss.

“I have to drive 130 miles to come over here,” Smith said.

He says it’s time to allow veterans to choose their own doctors.

“I would like to see them have some kind of voucher system or veterans card, where they just take care of our co-pay under Medicare,” Smith said.

Some Republican leaders are calling for change as well.

Thursday, some pushed not for the resignation of the VA Secretary, but for more accountability.

“It’s beyond clear that the V.A. has not performed up to anyone’s standards under his stewardship, but we must remember, this is about more than one man. This is about millions of veterans and they deserve more accountability than one resignation,” said Republican Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia during a news conference Thursday.

U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen says he was outraged by three deaths at the Memphis VA and asked the VA Secretary to visit Memphis.

That visit never happened.

“I immediately contacted Secretary Shinseki when the Inspector General’s report came out and asked him to come to Memphis and sent a follow-up report to him. He wants to wait until the final IG report on improvements to the emergency room have been submitted to him. Hopefully he will come to Memphis,” said Cohen.

Still no word on whether the VA Secretary plans to come to Memphis, but again he has dispatched inspectors to Memphis and more of them are on the way.

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