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Ernst Calls on Increased Transparency at VA over Hiring Practices

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) issued the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) responded to a December 21st letter she sent with Senator Grassley (R-IA) further inquiring into the hiring practices at the Iowa City VA:

“While I am grateful the VA has taken concrete steps to fix their hiring practices, I am unsatisfied with the lack of transparency about their internal review on this matter to the public, the patients, and their family members. The public needs to know the extent of the VA’s illegal hiring of providers, and patients and their family members should be notified if they were under the care of a provider hired illegally. These are commonsense requests that will improve the quality of care for our veterans. As a result, I am looking into options that will push the VA to take the appropriate steps to increase transparency moving forward.”

On December 4th, 2017, Senators Ernst and Grassley wrote VA Secretary Shulkin expressing concern and seeking information in response to a disturbing report that shed light on hiring practices at VA hospitals, including the Iowa City VA.

In their December 21st response, the VA stated that the Iowa City VA doctor in question is no longer a VA employee and that they have “issued a new policy to ensure full compliance with the law and a national review to verify that this policy is being implemented correctly.”

While the Iowa Senators were pleased to hear that actions to correct these missteps are taking place, they sent a follow up letter with additional questions. The response was received on January 25, 2018.