Southeastern PA

Senator Toomey calls for change in VA scandal

Senator Toomey calls for change in VA scandal

WILLOW GROVE, Pa. - Lawmakers throughout the country are responding to the recent allegations regarding Veterans Affairs hospitals.

Federal investigators have confirmed they are examining 26 VA facilities throughout the country, including one in Pennsylvania.

The allegations include secret wait lists, long waits for appointments, falsified health records and lacking management.

Just last week, it was reported at least 40 veterans died in an Arizona hospital while waiting for treatment.

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey introduced his Veterans Affairs Accountability Act in Willow Grove on Tuesday.

"This is a very high priority. I'm going to keep pounding away until we get this done," Toomey said.

Toomey explained his proposed law as an answer to some of the reported problems.

Under the VA Accountability Act, Toomey said veterans would have the power to hold VA employees more accountable.

"It would allow victims to sue VA employees if they knowingly and willfully misrepresent, lie about, or misreport any aspect of any veteran's health status," Toomey said.

Toomey said the law would allow veterans to sue those employees directly.

The senator is also pushing for immediate passage of a bill granting the VA Secretary authority to fire VA workers not meeting performance standards.

"They will both enhance the accountability of the veterans administration and certainly discourage wrong-doing in the future. Let me be clear, neither of these things will by themselves get the kind of health care they need when they need it," Toomey said.

Toomey said he's also working on a bill that would give veterans additional healthcare options at civilian hospitals, if they can't get into a VA facility in a timely fashion.

That care, he said, would be paid for by the federal government.

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