VA feedback encouraged by Sen. Johnson’s office

VA feedback encouraged by Sen. Johnson's office
Given recent news attention on conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) is encouraging veterans to share experiences, good and bad, with local Veterans Administration (VA) offices. South Dakota's VA service overall gets high marks for customer service, and in order to continue to improve the care veterans receive, Johnson is asking for feedback from veterans at the Senator's toll-free number, 1-800-537-0025, or in a letter to his office.

Last March, Johnson remarked that "we are all proud of our men and women in uniform, and we must do all we can to ensure that those returning from combat zones are getting the help they need. In addition to making certain that the VA has adequate funding for mental health services and readjustment counseling, we must also guarantee that the budget is properly funded each fiscal year and not subjected to emergency supplemental appropriations."

Recent revelations about wounded soldiers' sub-standard living conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center indicate that adequate funding levels and accountability are missing. Currently, oversight hearings of Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the challenges facing wounded military personnel during recovery are pending before both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.

Johnson worked on many issues concerning our nation's veterans. In the last Congress, he:

  • Introduced legislation that would make funding for the VA health care program mandatory. Johnson has led the effort on full funding for the past three congresses, despite continuous objections from the administration and also from Republican leaders in the Senate.
  • Cosponsored legislation to increase funding for veterans mental health care by $2.5 billion over the next five years – an increase of $500 million per year.
  • Sent a letter with colleagues to Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Nicholson with regard to the growing number of veterans seeking treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and what initiatives the VA is undertaking to address this growing concern as veterans continue to return from Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the world.
  • Cosponsored the Vets Ride Act, which establishes a grant program to provide transportation options to veterans in remote rural areas in order to get the provided medical care necessary at VA medical centers.
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