Corker, Alexander Ask VA To Check Out Reports Of VA Neglect

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Senator Bob Corker and Senator Lamar Alexander today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric K. Shinseki calling on the VA to conduct a “through, open and transparent” audit following reports of neglect at some of its medical facilities, including allegations that up to 40 patients may have died because of delayed care at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. While Secretary Shinseki recently announced a “face-to-face” audit of all VA medical facilities, the senators urged the department to consider using a third-party auditor to ensure the review “is independent and transparent," and also requested information on Tennessee VA facilities.

“The gravity of these allegations demands a thorough, open and transparent investigation,” wrote the senators. “As the VA conducts its internal audit, we urge you to consider partnering with an outside organization and conduct a joint review, or use a third-party auditor to examine the claims made against the VA to help ensure the review is independent and transparent.”

Corker and Alexander said if allegations of records manipulation at the Phoenix VA are found to be true, it “would represent a massive failure of the VA” and would “demonstrate a complete breach of faith with the community it is mandated to serve.”

The senators also asked Shinseki to provide specific information regarding the average time Tennessee veterans are waiting for care at VA facilities.

“At the completion of the audit, in addition to the findings and recommendations, we request that you provide us with the average time between patients presenting themselves and when they receive treatment at all VA facilities in Tennessee,” they continued. “Our veterans deserve better, and we intend to closely monitor the investigation to ensure they receive every benefit they have earned.”

 The letter says: 

Dear Secretary Shinseki:

 We write to you today to express our profound concern about recent allegations regarding the deaths of veterans waiting for care from Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers and your announcement of a "face-to-face audit" at all VA medical facilities. It is critical to immediately address the persistent process and organizational failures that have been emerging on a regular basis.

 The allegation that the Phoenix VA Health Care System maintained an alternative list, where veterans’ appointments were arranged in a shell game to manipulate the historic backlog for care, is deeply troubling. If these allegations are found to be true, this would represent a massive failure of the VA, which already is struggling to maintain its credibility, and demonstrate a complete breach of faith with the community it is mandated to serve.

 The gravity of these allegations demands a thorough, open and transparent investigation. As the VA conducts its internal audit, we urge you to consider partnering with an outside organization and conduct a joint review, or use a third-party auditor to examine the claims made against the VA to help ensure the review is independent and transparent. 

 At the completion of the audit, in addition to the findings and recommendations, we request that you provide us with the average time between patients presenting themselves and when they receive treatment at all VA facilities in Tennessee. Our veterans deserve better, and we intend to closely monitor the investigation to ensure they receive every benefit they have earned.

 Thank for your consideration of this matter and your service to our nation.

 Sincerely,

 Bob Corker

United States Senator

 Lamar Alexander

United States Senator


Many Waldens Ridge Scenes Featured In Stokes Picture Book

A number of early views of Waldens Ridge are among the rarities found in the Stokes Photo Collection. There are many photos of the roads up the mountain showing streetcars, wagons and early autos. There are scenes at Rainbow Lake, Falling Water Falls, Signal Point and other scenic spots. Several photos are included of the Signal Mountain Hotel. The more than 700 photos ... (click for more)

Man Shot At Apartments On Tunnel Boulevard Wednesday Afternoon

Chattanooga police officers responded to the apartment buildings at 404 Tunnel Blvd. Wednesday at 1:21 p.m., where residents say they heard multiple shots fired.  Witnesses said they saw multiple suspects fleeing the scene on foot behind the complex.  The male victim was taken to a local hospital for life threatening gunshot wounds.  Chattanooga Police ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill - And Response

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Policeman’s Prayer

Every year, when the Law Enforcement Foundation of Greater Chattanooga holds its annual luncheon, it is one of the most heartening displays of what America really believes, down deep inside. The most prominent and influential leaders in the community – well over 1,000 -- gather to pay tribute and pledge their support to our heroes in blue who are unfaltering in their devotion, service ... (click for more)

Boyd-Buchanan Sweeps Loretto To Open Class A State Volleyball

(Story will be updated) MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Playing what coach Alfie Dodd called a sub-par match, Boyd-Buchanan’s Lady Bucs were still good enough to sweep Loretto, 3-0, Wednesday in the opening match of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Class A state volleyball tournament at Blackman High School. Set scores were 25-19, 25-14, 25-20. With the ... (click for more)

Red Bank Loses In State Volleyball Opener

SMYRNA, Tenn. – The TSSAA State Volleyball tournament didn’t start off like the Red Bank Lionettes would have liked. Facing the Lady Irish from Knoxville Catholic here at Stewarts Creek High School in the first match Wednesday morning, the Lionettes never got comfortable and lost in three sets, falling by scores of 25-16, 25-13 and 25-19. Red Bank got an ace from Allison Walker ... (click for more)