Johnson, Thune: VA needs change now - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Johnson, Thune: VA needs change now

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Earlier today, Senator Tim Johnson visited the Sioux Falls' Veterans Affairs hospital in Sioux Falls to see conditions there first hand and if veterans here are being seen for their medical appointments in a timely fashion.

The visit comes as other V-A installations are being scrutinized for having a backlog of patients and concerns vets aren't getting the care they need.

Today, we caught up with both of our senators for a discussion on what is....and isn't....happening.

Senator Johnson says the revelations of vets having to wait for care...and in some cases dying while they a more than ample wake up call to take a look at the V-A health system. "Before we can fully address the problems facing the V-A we need to understand the entire scope of the problem."

Johnson says his office has reviewed conditions at the Sioux Falls V-A hospital...which routinely cares for 28,000 vets from southwest Minnesota, northwest Iowa and east river South Dakota...and has found no severe problems with the care vets here are receiving. "As a nation we must remain committed to our vets and their families."

"Right now what we've been seeing is we've been hearing these stories about secret lists, people dying because they can't get in to see somebody. that's unacceptable." We caught up with Senator John Thune at Falls Community Health in Sioux Falls; he says while the Sioux Falls V-A is in good shape, the larger V-A system is not and it must be changed and changed now before the existing problems get worse. "The veteran population here in South Dakota and across our country of anybody ought to be our highest priority when it comes to taking care of their health care needs and clearly that hasn't been done at a lot of places around the country."

Yesterday the White House nominated former corporate leader Robert McDonald to become the new secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Senator Thune says he will have some hard questions to McDonald to make sure he is up to the job of fixing what's wrong with the V-A.


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