Clarksburg, W.Va. – Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant has completed her tour of all four VA Medical Facilities in West Virginia, discussing solutions to long wait times for veterans seeking medical attention.
The four VA medical facilities – in Beckley, Clarksburg, Huntington, and Martinsburg – provide much needed services for thousands of West Virginia veterans. It is those veterans that Secretary Tennant had in mind when meeting with the administrations of each facility.
The meetings with VA facility administrators have been an opportunity for Secretary Tennant to voice the concerns of West Virginians who are unable to attend.
“My father is a Korean War veteran and my husband is a member of the US Navy Reserves who recently served a tour of duty in Afghanistan, so this issue is very important for me,” Secretary Tennant said. “Every man and woman who has put on the uniform and served our nation deserves to have top quality health care and they shouldn’t have to wait weeks to receive it. The West Virginians I met truly want to help veterans, and we have to make sure they are working in a system that allows them to do that.”
Among the concerns Secretary Tennant has heard from VA administrators is difficulty in recruiting doctors and lack of access to major medical schools.
Secretary Tennant praised legislation passed by Congress last week to increase recruitment of VA doctors, expand access to care for more veterans, and crack down on mismanagement. But she said the bill is just the first step, and she will be watching closely to ensure it is implemented in a way that works best for West Virginia.
“Our work is far from over,” Secretary Tennant said. “We cannot rest until every veteran is getting the care they deserve.”
Secretary Tennant toured the Martinsburg VA facility on July 1, the Beckley and Huntington facilities on July 2, and the Clarksburg facility on August 5.
In May, Secretary Tennant wrote a letter to the VA’s Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin asking him to add West Virginia’s VA facilities to those being investigated for long wait times. She said she wanted West Virginia’s facilities to be examined so that they may contribute to the solution of how to provide top quality medical care to veterans in a timely manner.