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Senator Lankford Statement on Oklahoma Veterans Affairs Problems

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today issued the following statement on the Oklahoma Veterans Affairs Medical Center problems detailed in this week’s USA Today newspaper:

“Our veterans have sacrificed to keep us safe and protect the freedoms we enjoy every day. I remain continually frustrated by the issues happening at both the Department of Veterans Affairs and in our Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, the front line where we need to honor the promises to treat service-related medical needs of our veterans. In the last 2 weeks, I’ve visited VA Centers in Muskogee and Oklahoma City and it is clear that the progress being made is too slow. Earlier this year, Congress passed legislation to give veterans more choice so they can conveniently receive the care they need. Whether it’s care within the VA system or the ability to receive care in the private sector, change needs to happen faster. 

“I am working with the regional Veterans Integrated Service Network-19 leadership to get a Director in place at the Oklahoma City and Muskogee Veterans facilities, and I will closely monitor the VA’s progress of these problems. Our veterans deserve better, and I will fight to ensure they receive the care they have earned.”

The Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (HR 3236) was passed by Congress and signed into law in July 2015. The bill makes it easier for veterans who can’t get prompt appointments with VA doctors to obtain outside care. Also, the Omnibus spending bill (HR 2029), passed by Congress on Friday, includes increased funding for VA staff to address the long backlog of veteran medical cases.