Steve Rogers

About Steve Rogers

Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

Wicker, Cochran Raise Concerns about Care at Jackson VA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss) today said the best medical care possible must be the ultimate priority as the Department of Veterans Affairs investigates past issues and current care at the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson.

Earlier this month, Cochran and Wicker received a requested meeting with VA Under Secretary for Health Robert A. Petzel, M.D., regarding ongoing complaints from constituents about conditions at the VA Medical Center in Jackson. Petzel, at that meeting, expressed optimism about the recent appointment of Joe Battle as the permanent director of the Jackson VA, as well as recent corrective actions at the medical center to begin improving care and administration.

The Mississippi Senators were informed Friday of a VA Office of Special Counsel (OSC) investigation and have been in communications with the VA in Washington, D.C., and Mississippi regarding the Jackson facility. On Monday, the OSC sent a letter to President Obama and congressional Veterans Affairs committees detailing concerns raised by five whistleblowers at the same Jackson VA facility.

“I am deeply troubled by the accusations made about care and operations at the VA Medical Center in Jackson. In light of some of the concerns we’ve heard from Mississippians, it has become clear that there have been troublesome practices there. The bottom line is that whatever problems existed, or still exist, they need to be resolved so that veterans can have confidence in their health care system and receive the best care possible,” Cochran said. “We will continue working with Dr. Petzel and leadership at the Jackson VA to address these issues.”

“Many constituents have contacted me with concerns about the level of care at the VA facility in Jackson,” said Wicker. “For two years, I have encouraged VA executives in Washington take corrective action in Jackson. It is long past time for a thorough investigation into the lack of proper care. Our veterans deserve the best medical services available, and I intend to use every resource necessary to see that these problems are corrected.”