Sen. Casey calling for quick resolution to problems at VA

 Philadelphia's Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Kim Paynter/WHYY)

Philadelphia's Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Kim Paynter/WHYY)

Another Pennsylvania U.S. Senator is weighing in on problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sen. Bob Casey says the delays locally are worse than the nationwide numbers.

Casey said delayed care is especially bad for disabled vets.

“The average wait time for these claims the average backlog in terms of days 244 days nationwide, unfortunately Pennsylvania both on the East and West, the Philadelphia region and the Pittsburgh region, are averaging 300 days,” he said. 

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Casey says its far past time for the federal government to offer timely, proper care to veterans.

“We need to make sure to take the steps that are necessary to get these backlog days down to a much lower number, both nationally and here in Pennsylvania,” he said.

Fixing the problem won’t happen overnight, but Casey says it has to be a priority.

Tuesday, Casey’s colleague Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) proposed allowing veterans to get medical care outside the VA system if they were running into delays.

The senators are speaking out as the VA’s Office of Inspector General issued a preliminary report calling delays and manipulating records to hide those delays is “systemic throughout” the Department of Veterans Affairs health system.

“Our reviews at a growing number of VA medical facilities have thus far provided insight into the current extent of these inappropriate scheduling issues throughout the VA health care system and have confirmed that inappropriate scheduling practices are systemic throughout VHA,” the report says.

Investigators with the Inspector General’s Office said their probe into charges of delays in health care at a hospital in Phoenix shows that the care of patients was compromised.

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