Lubbock Rep. Arrington: VA is 'fundamentally broken right now'

Lubbock Rep. Arrington: VA is 'fundamentally broken right now'

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Amarillo, TX -

Texas U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn put the Department of Veterans Affairs on notice after penning a letter urging the VA to improve its quality of care. 

A new study gave three Texas care centers the lowest possible ratings in its Strategic Analytics for Learning and Improvement (SAIL), including the West Texas VA Health Care System in Big Springs. The senators say it is critical the VA makes every effort to improve the quality of care immediately.

Lubbock Congressman Jodey Arrington blames the poor performance on a lack of accountability.

"You do away with the red tape and you implement common sense and you implement a culture of accountability, we can get this VA to work for veterans but it is fundamentally broken right now," Arrington said.

To fix this problem he said veterans need to be given other options outside of the VA.

"We don't put Medicaid patients in a system like that, we don't put Medicare patients in a system like that," he said. "They deserve the same choice that we have and when we give them that it elevates the level of care within the VA and it gives our veterans a way out if it's not working for them in a certain part of the VA system."

The Amarillo VA bucked this trend. It actually increased its rating.

"When I first got here about two years ago, we had just moved from a two star to a three star in quality designated facility," said Michael Keifer, director of the Amarillo VA Health Care System. "Today we're at the top end of that three star range and about six positions from four stars."

Arrrington said there is still room to grow and that can be accomplished if given the right tools.

"I know the leadership, I know their hearts are in the right place," he said. "I just think they just need to be freed up to do what they know the veteran needs and we're trying to get them the tools to do that."

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