WASHINGTON — The laundry list of blatant issues plaguing the Veteran Affairs Department undoubtedly casts a shadow over their work in medical science discoveries.
“Let me tell you some things that will surprise you,” U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson began in a recent interview with CBS Radio’s Connecting Vets. “Some of the great research breakthroughs that have taken place … have been done with research in the veteran population.”
Isakson stressed that the VA particularly excels at treating injuries that are unique to war.
“The access to care, the quality of care, and the type of the care, I mean traumatic, traumatic injuries that you go through now loss of limb, things of that nature, that are characteristic and symbolic of this era of conflict, our VA does a job second to none in the country.”
Isakson, who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, described some of the challenges facing the VA as inherent.
“You have this ingrained system of, ‘This is the way we’ve always done it and this is the way we’re gonna do it,’ so we’re doing some things now to change that.”
The senator also noted the importance of making changes to personnel within the VA. “If we have a bad apple … we’re gonna make sure they’re held accountable and they are accountable to the veterans that they serve.”
According to Isakson, there is a bipartisan effort among both the House and Senate to address issues within the VA.
“We don’t have Republican Marines and Democratic Marines, we don’t have Republican casualties and Democratic casualties. We have American veterans and American citizens,” Isakson said.
“One of my number one priorities as chairman is to compress the time it takes for a veteran to get an answer and to make sure they have a smooth course of appeal if they challenge a decision made by the VA.”