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re: Phoenix VA

Dear Friend,

Almost two years ago, we were shocked and disgusted by the revelation that veterans at the Phoenix VA were kept on secret waiting lists, waiting months before seeing a doctor, and not getting the care they needed.  We took immediate action and demanded change. We came together as a community to make sure Arizona veterans get the care they need, and called on the President and the VA to change leadership at the national and local levels. 

Since the previous director was fired in November 2014, the Phoenix VA has been without permanent leadership.  We have repeatedly called on the VA to appoint a permanent director who will turn around the facility and provide Arizona veterans the care they deserve.

In December 2015, Deborah Amdur started as the permanent Director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System.  Recently, Congressman Matt Salmon and I met with Director Amdur at the Phoenix VA. We discussed the challenges facing the Phoenix VA and the reforms needed to remedy patient backlogs and remove poor-performing employees who contribute to the unacceptable treatment of Arizona veterans.

I also sought assurance that the Phoenix VA will improve the standard of care for veterans with mental health issues and asked for a written plan to quickly help veterans struggling with suicidal thoughts. 

Arizona is ground zero for the VA’s failure to take care of veterans. Director Amdur has much to do in order to restore the Phoenix VA to the standard of service and care that our veterans deserve.

The human resources department must be fixed so that appropriate staff can be hired and held accountable for meeting veterans’ medical needs. Scheduling must be overhauled and coordination with community providers must improve to ensure timely access to care. The facility itself must be modernized to meet Arizona veterans’ needs and appropriately treat the unique wounds of war. The VA must focus on veterans’ mental health so that we may reduce the tragic number of Arizona veterans we lose to suicide each year. 

Our veterans deserve the highest standard of medical care. That’s why I continue to work with my colleagues in both parties to address the crisis at the Phoenix VA and hold individuals accountable.

I joined a bipartisan majority to pass legislation that strengthens protections for whistleblowers and facilitates the removal of bad employees. I also voted to increase accountability and funding so that veterans receive the care they need. I will not rest until every veteran in Arizona can get the care he or she needs.

We also hold quarterly resource clinics to ensure Arizona veterans have access to care. If you or someone you know is a veteran in need please call our office at 602-956-2285 or visit our website at www.sinema.house.gov

I am honored to serve in Congress on behalf of Arizona families like yours. As your representative, I always appreciate hearing from you on current topics and issues affecting you and our community. If there is an issue that matters to you, please let us know by clicking this link or calling our Phoenix office: 602-956-2285. Be sure to stay connected through our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and let us know how we can be of service.

Sincerely,

Kyrsten

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