Smith Statement Announcing Commitment by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Nominee Shulkin to Support Seattle VA Hospital

Washington, D.C. – After meeting with individual veterans as well as Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) over the past year, Congressman Smith and his staff have worked to help identify and address core issues at the Seattle VA. Congressman Smith has continually heard of obstacles that veterans face in accessing care. which largely stem from unfilled management positions, an overreliance on “acting” roles that lack decision-making authority, and frequent turnover in leadership. These deficiencies have led to a de facto paralysis at the Seattle hospital, leaving many veterans out in the cold. Today, Congressman Smith released the following statement following conversations with VA Under Secretary Shulkin:

February 7, 2017

“I applaud the commitment by VA Under Secretary Shulkin to send a team of management improvement specialists to the Seattle Veterans Affairs Hospital within 60 days. This pledge is the result of months of hard work, phone calls, and coordination between myself, my staff, and Dr. Shulkin. I shared with him the alarming stories from veterans in and around my District, and I fought to ensure that not only were their voices heard, but that their concerns were brought to the attention of the proper officials.  Dr. Shulkin’s commitment to sending this “Tiger Team” is the first step of what I hope will be many towards better outcomes for our veterans. The work of this VA team to improve hiring, retention, and leadership at the facility is badly overdue, and I look forward to working with them in coordination with VSOs in our community to make impactful changes.”