Letter Urges Veterans Administration to Fill Director Position in St. Louis
WASHINGTON – Members of the St. Louis area congressional delegation recently sent a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald, expressing concern over the prolonged vacancy of the director position at the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Health Care System (STLVAHCS).
The letter, signed by Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03), Ann Wagner (MO-02), Rodney Davis (IL-13), John Shimkus (IL-15), and Mike Bost (IL-12), cites a June 2015 communication between Congress and the VA about the vacancy, in which the VA stated they would have the position filled soon. The St. Louis VA has not had a permanent director since 2013 and is currently on its 8th consecutive interim director. The letter also states that the St. Louis VA failed to meet multiple patient care standards in 2015 and 2016.
“It is troubling that the VA has been unable to permanently fill one of the most essential roles in the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Health Care System,” said Luetkemeyer, who led the letter. “The VA Office of Inspector General has given the St. Louis VA multiple negative reviews and yet the Veterans Health Administration has been unable to provide it with the permanent leadership needed to make improvements. Our veterans deserve results, and that is unlikely to happen without a director that has a long term interest in the organization.”
“Replacing one interim director with another interim director every few months is no way to run any large organization," added Shimkus. "Patient care is suffering due to the lack of stable leadership. I again urge Secretary McDonald to make it a priority to fill this post.”
A copy of the letter is available HERE.