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Begich Calls on VA to Address Inadequate Service at Anchorage Facility


Responding to a troubling report from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is calling on Secretary of Veterans Affairs Erik Shinseki to immediately address reported deficiencies at the VA Regional Office in Anchorage.

The Dec. 7 report,  produced by the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, documents oversight of the office's workload, improper claims processing and delayed benefits and care due to poor management.

"The troubling findings of this report require a plan of action from the VA that will correct these shortcomings as quickly as possible," said Begich, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  "As the central VA office in Alaska, thousands of veterans depend on the services this facility provides. I plan to question witnesses on this report in the Veterans Affairs Committee Wednesday and secure their commitment to serve our veterans in the same manner that they served us - with quality, dignity and respect."

In the letter, Sen. Begich requests that Sec. Shinseki report on plans to address the issues raised by the report.

"Alaska's veterans are especially challenged because we lack the full breadth of services available in Lower 48 states. We simply must improve how we care for and treat Alaska's veterans," Begich writes. "Please report to me as soon as possible how the VA plans to address the many inadequacies found by this Inspector General report."

Wednesday in the Veterans Affairs Committee, Sen. Begich intends to question nominees about the findings of this report and plans to improve care provided to Alaska's veterans. Appearing before the committee will be Dr. Robert Petzel, nominated to be Under Secretary for Health of the Department of Veterans Affairs and Dr. Raul Perea-Henze, nominated to be Assistant Secretary of veterans Affairs for Policy and Planning.

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