Sen. Kirk uniquely qualified for VA Hospitals' investigation - FOX 32 News Chicago

Sen. Kirk uniquely qualified for VA Hospitals' investigation

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Senator Mark Kirk is perhaps uniquely qualified to lead the charge on investigating alleged abuses at VA Hospitals across the nation.

"My reaction was anger as a veteran to hear of guys being mistreated this way," said Sen. Kirk.

As a stroke victim, he knows the importance of access to quality healthcare. And as a navy veteran, Kirk said that he understands the frustration of fellow vets who chose to serve their country.

"If we have that level of integrity, the VA should have that level of integrity. And we need to back up Americans who have made that commitment," Kirk said.

On Monday, Sen. Kirk and his staff plan to hand out copies of a flyer when he marches in the Memorial Day parade in northwest suburban Palatine. The flyer will ask veterans to report any bad experiences with the VA.

"I will follow up on all credible stories, detailed stories of mistreatment. And making sure that information goes right to the inspector general of the veteran's administration,” added Kirk.

Kirk is calling for the resignation of the director of Hines VA Hospital in Maywood. This comes after it was discovered that administrators at the hospital collected more than $16-million in bonuses since 2011, despite chronically long wait times and canceled appointments.

Kirk gave FOX 32 News a copy of an internal memo from the hospital's director to Hines' employees, which says in part: "This memo is both a request and a plea that we all do our best to follow the recommended scheduling practices."

"She’s basically asking people to report more accurately on wait times and outcomes,” said Kirk. "It indicated to me that she felt there was a problem with that, and the problem was more endemic than it should be."

Sen. Kirk believes the House of Representatives may begin an investigation into VA problems, which could include subpoenas of top veterans officials.

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