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Iowa lawmakers take their concerns to Iowa City VA after Marine’s suicide

By Jenna Morton

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Iowa lawmakers are looking for answers at the VA Hospital in Iowa City, over a Davenport Marine who took his own life.

Brand Ketchum's family says he went to the facility to get treatment and was turned away.

Now the Office of the Inspector General is looking into the case.

U.S Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley took a tour of the center on Friday and held a press conference after.

"It's really about getting to know this system as well finding some of the answers to questions we have," said Ernst.

One of those questions is what happened with Ketchum.

"Once that investigation comes back then we will be able to sit down with the Iowa City VA, with the inspector general, also representatives, talk through those recommendations, what the findings were," said Ersnt.

Another Concern Ernst said is with the shortage of beds in the VA system.

"Long term care is what they pointed as one of the reasons why beds are getting full. We don`t have as many long-term care facilities," said Ernst."

Senator Grassley says these are nationwide problems within the VA system, "We`re talking about a national culture problem that we have in the VA, that seems to not want to listen to whats wrong."

Grassley questions how transparent the Iowa City VA Center is willing to be when they wouldn't even allow the press conference on their property.

"You ought to ask them why you can`t be on the premise when you can be on the premise of Iowa City," said Grassley.

Senator Grassley and Ernst say they hope to change that and work with the VA center to figure out what can be done differently when it comes to the care of Veterans.