Lawmakers want answers in VA wait times in Tennessee - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Lawmakers want answers in VA wait times in Tennessee

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Four members of Tennessee's congressional delegation are demanding information on how long veterans are waiting for care at VA facilities here at home.

It comes as the Channel 4 I-Team has obtained, for the first time, a photograph of the Nashville-based VA employee blamed for neglecting backlogged cases of sick veterans.

Senators have asked for details of how long Tennessee veterans are having to wait for care, and they're not the only ones writing such letters to the secretary of veterans affairs.

U.S. Rep Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, has, too - about the same issue and why it's taken so long to get answers about what he calls a rogue VA employee.

Cooper admits his patience about this status of this man is growing thin.

"Is there anything lower in life than stealing from veterans?" Cooper asked.

Richard Moore is identified in an audit as a Nashville-based VA employee who made trips to Washington, DC, and Florida instead of working on backlogged veterans cases and is accused of misspending tens of thousands of dollars.

The VA office has yet to say if he's still employed.

Cooper wrote a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki late last month, saying he's still waiting on a response from a March 13 letter he wrote that asked for an update on Moore's employment.

"It's not easy to get to the bottom of this bureaucracy. We've got to find out who the wrongdoers are and get it fixed," Cooper said.

The congressman's letter also asks Shinseki about the "secret waiting list" scandal rocking the VA, after veterans in Phoenix may have died while waiting for doctor's appointments.

Cooper wants to know if other VA health systems have "secret waiting lists" of patients.

"Hopefully nothing like that has been happening in Nashville," Cooper said.

Cooper is also concerned about the Channel 4 I-Team's investigation that found a backlog of cases of veterans, including those exposed to Agent Orange.

Some veterans claim they were repeatedly denied and had to do their own research to prove they were sickened by the chemical.

"If you're exposed to a bad chemical, you need help," Cooper said.

A spokeswoman for the VA had no update on the status of Moore's employment to share with the Channel 4 I-Team.

As for that letter issued from the U.S. senators, like Cooper, they also want the VA to investigate the "secret waiting list" scandal in Phoenix. And once that's completed, they want to know the average time from when Tennessee veterans ask for care and when they receive treatment.

The Tennessean is reporting that the audit is already underway.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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