In answer to VA scandal, Toomey proposes allowing vets to sue health workers

 Vietnam vet Harry Taylor says he is happy with the care he has received, but is concerned about others. (Jessica McDonald/WHYY)

Vietnam vet Harry Taylor says he is happy with the care he has received, but is concerned about others. (Jessica McDonald/WHYY)

In the wake of the scandal over treatment delays and mismanagement in the VA system, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania visited the Willow Grove VFW Tuesday to propose giving veterans recourse to sue VA employees.

Toomey blames senior management for the problems plaguing the VA system that may have resulted in 40 deaths in Arizona. Questioning whether VA Secretary Eric Shinseki should still be in charge, Toomey announced legislation that aims to hold individuals accountable for wrongdoing.

“It will allow victims to sue VA employees if they knowingly and willfully misrepresent, lie about or misreport, any aspect of veterans health status,” Toomey said.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Thomas Murt, a veteran who supports Toomey’s bill, said it would also allow veterans to seek care outside the system if they were experiencing delays.

“We know there are finite resources, we know that the VA health care system only has a limited number of doctors and specialists and so forth,” he said. “But we still believe that we need to do a better job of delivering those services to our veterans.”

Vietnam veteran Harry Taylor said he has benefited from excellent health care at the local VA clinic in Horsham. But tales of fellow veterans not getting the help they need are disturbing, he said.

“Whether it be with the VA or the Congress, or the senators, no matter what have you, they need to weed out the problems,” Taylor said.

Toomey also noted that one of the 26 VA facilities under investigation is in Pennsylvania.

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