ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says he asked officials at the John Cochran VA Medical Center point-blank about a whistleblower’s allegations of delays in mental health treatment and doctors slacking off, but the answer he got was not satisfactory.
Blunt says he also asked about the hospital’s initial reply to the claims from former chief of psychiatry Dr. Jose Mathews. A few releases came out after the accusations were made—one that said psychiatrists and mental health professionals were seeing 14 patients a day, and a second one that amended that number to between 5 and 14 a day.
“We got some satisfaction on that, but I think surely they would redo the way that was first explained if they had the chance because it wasn’t explained in a way you and I would think was an accurate and forthcoming way,” Blunt says.
He says it was a fairly complicated discussion, but he didn’t get what he thinks is the right answer.
Blunt says it’s “outrageous” that lawmakers aren’t getting information as quickly as they need to from the VA, and that he reiterated to the staff that they must cooperate fully with the VA investigation into these claims.
As the senator wrapped up his press conference, he was approached by veteran Kenneth Bourbon.
“It’s just delays and delays,” Bourbon says. “We need our benefits to survive here—that’s why we end up on the street homeless.”
Blunt says today’s focus was on mental health, but he also wants to hear about other things aren’t being treated.
Bourbon says Blunt’s response was just “politics.”
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