WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), the Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (VA) met with the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald to discuss the status of the Veterans Affairs clinics in Columbus and Albany as well as challenges the VA will face in 2015.
“After today’s productive meeting with the Secretary McDonald, I believe that we have a way forward, ensuring that our nation’s veterans have the care and services they so rightly deserve. Secretary McDonald brings a wealth of experience and leadership from the corporate world, and after hearing his plan of action for this year, I am hopeful that we can turn over a new leaf and strengthen the VA for the future,” said Congressman Bishop.
“In addition to changing the management culture at the VA and ensuring that veterans get the timely care and consideration to which they are entitled, the Department needs to continue to address veterans’ homelessness, fully develop an integrated DoD-VA Electronic Health Records System, and eliminate the claims backlog. I look forward to working with Secretary McDonald to ensure that the VA has the resources it needs to address these important issues,” concluded Congressman Bishop.
At the meeting, a number of items were discussed that pertain to Middle and Southwest Georgia. Congressman Bishop discussed details surrounding the Columbus (GA) and Albany (GA) VA Clinics. Specifically, Congressman Bishop expressed serious concern regarding the potential location a proposed VA clinic in the greater Columbus area and discussed recurrent service concerns raised with the Albany VA clinic.
Secretary McDonald answered Congressman Bishop’s questions regarding the VA’s progress on recruiting doctors and nurses, particularly in rural areas. He also spoke about strategic changes to VA medical facility operations and administration. The Secretary outlined key challenges, opportunities, and goals for the future of the VA including addressing the integration of Department of Defense and VA electronic records as well as the outstanding backlog of veterans’ claims.