(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) is continuing his push to get information from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on behalf of a constituent from New Orleans, La. who lost her father, allegedly in part due to the poor care at the VA health care facility in New Orleans. A recent VA audit revealed the New Orleans VA hospital has an average wait time of 51.85 days for new primary care patients. The VA has refused to provide information to the constituent.
“By completely dismissing my request, I’m concerned that the New Orleans hospital hasn’t actually fixed these alleged problems,” Vitter said. “We’ve seen recently that there’s a widespread crisis throughout the VA, and it’s their responsibility to be accountable to our veterans. The VA can start restoring the trust of our veterans by providing information about what steps they’re taking to address problems like this.”
Vitter sent an initial request to acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson on June 3, 2014, asking the VA to provide information that they had been unwilling to share with the constituent. In response to Vitter’s inquiry, the VA told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that they could not release the information due to patient privacy laws. Vitter has obtained all of the necessary privacy release forms to help the constituent obtain this information and is providing them to the VA in his follow up requests.
Vitter sent a follow up letter to Gibson today again asking for this information. The text of the letter is below.
June 11, 2014
Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Dear Acting Secretary Gibson:
An article appeared in the New Orleans Times-Picayune on June 4, 2014 regarding my letter to you the day before. My letter addressed some concerns from one of my constituents, Gwen Moity Nolan, about her veteran father’s health care. The attached letter requested the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to reveal the results of an internal investigation into the death of her father, Richard Ian Moity. In response, the New Orleans VA was quoted as saying, “patient privacy laws prohibit us from discussing specific patient information.”
This response is completely ridiculous, as Nolan has provided our office with all the necessary privacy release forms for your office to legally release this information to us. This information is also attached. Again, on behalf of Nolan I am requesting:
1.) The results of the investigation conducted by the VA regarding the care and the negligence of the doctor who was treating Richard Ian Moity.
2.) A detailed outline of how the problems that led to the death of Mr. Moity have been fixed.
Since taking control of the VA you have promised to bring “cultural change to the massive department and restore trust in its health network one veteran at a time.” Fulfill your promise and release this information immediately.
United States Senate