Tillis seeks VA investigation into home-state veterans medical center

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) on April 19 requested that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) investigate reports about the poor quality of care at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center in his home state, specifically the center’s prosthetics services.

“There has been an apparent lack of attention to timely and empathetic care delivery for amputee veterans, overburdensome bureaucratic processes, and poor communication among staff and leadership that have created an environment where veterans’ quality of life has been diminished, taking a toll on their personal relationships and mental health,” wrote Sen. Tillis and a colleague in an April 19 letter sent to VA Secretary Denis McDonough. 

Additionally, there have been reports that care coordination across clinical lines of operation is lacking to the point where prosthetic vendors are hamstrung by the VA due to poor communication and responsiveness, especially regarding timely payments for services rendered, according to the letter from Sen. Tillis and U.S. Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC).

“Care coordination and vendor relations should be a top priority for the VA,” the lawmakers wrote. “Veterans should not have to put their lives on hold for multiple months or years waiting for the VA to deliver them a well-functioning prosthetic.”

As part of the investigation, Sen. Tillis and his colleague requested that McDonough include information on several items, such as what the standard, clinically advisable time frame is for providing initial prosthetics devices to veterans post-amputation and whether that timeframe is communicated to a veteran at the onset of care.

Among several other items to be included in the investigation, they want to know what happens when a veteran reports issues with a prosthesis or prosthetic and what process and protocols the VA has in place to address such issues.

“We hope to work with you to ensure that the Fayetteville VAMC is a facility where all veterans in the North Carolina coastal region can proudly seek health care,” the members concluded.