Sen. Scott still waiting for answers on veterans care at South Carolina VA facilities

Published: Jun. 29, 2014 at 10:04 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 9, 2014 at 10:03 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WIS) - President Obama tapped former Procter and Gamble executive Robert McDonald Sunday to lead the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs.

Last week, a scathing White House report called VA leadership a "corrosive culture" and called for a complete overhaul.

U.S. Senator Tim Scott is trying to get answers about the care veterans are getting in Columbia and at other VA facilities around the state.

"My father spent a career in the Air Force of over 20 years," Scott said. "My brother's a command sergeant major in the Army."

Scott said the so-called "corrosive culture" at VA medical facilities across the country is disheartening, frustrating, and a cause for action.

"I want to have an equilibrium that allows us to find truth and not have anything that looks like a witch-hunt whatsoever," Scott said.

Scott sent a letter to the Acting VA Secretary more than two weeks ago.

In it is a list of questions about South Carolina's 13 facilities, including Dorn.

He asks if there are "secret" waiting lists, how many patients have died at each facility -- and monthly backlog totals for each facility since 2009.

"Fact of the matter may be there was a pervasive or perverse incentive through the bonus system to provide folks and opportunity to game this system for financial gain," Scott said. "I want to know about that as well."

His questions haven't been answered but Scott isn't backing down.

He's planning trips directly to Dorn and other hospitals to get answers.

"On Tuesday, we're hoping for a call on Dorn, and I'd like to schedule a time to visit both facilities and then do a tour throughout the state of the other smaller facilities," Scott said.

At Dorn alone, reports suggest the average wait time for new patients at Dorn is close to 77 days, one of the worst in the country.

Six preventable deaths have been identified. Dorn has also been selected for further review by auditors.

But for what we do know Scott said there's still much more that we don't.

"Unfortunately, the tragedies that I heard through my listening tours throughout South Carolina suggest that there's a whole lot more to come," Scott said. "It's unfortunately pervasive."

Scott said he also plans to visit Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston.

He said he wants to hear the bad and the good.

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