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DeFazio Urges Roseburg VA Director to Reengage and Comprehensively Communicate with Veterans, Community Partners

Aug 20, 2020
Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today sent a letter to Roseburg VA Health Care System (RVAHCS) Director Keith Allen urging him to engage in more robust communications with community partners, including local Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) and Oregon’s congressional delegation, to keep them informed and engaged on issues facing southwest Oregon’s veteran community, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the midst of a global pandemic and the roll-out of two major programs, I am very concerned that you and the Roseburg VA Health Care System (RVAHCS) have not held any VSO-CODEL meetings since March, have routinely cancelled regular check-ins, and do not intend to hold the next meeting until September,” wrote DeFazio. “In particular, I am troubled that RVAHCS stopped providing COVID-19 data only a few weeks after the health care system started making this information available to the Oregon congressional delegation and your community Veteran Service Officers. There are also ongoing questions around what COVID-19 data is being reported to local public health authorities and the potential consequences of incomplete data for southwest Oregon…I urge you to schedule a VSO-CODEL briefing later this month in order to communicate facts, answer questions, address concerns, and again collaborate with your partners to better serve our veterans.”

In addition to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, DeFazio’s office has also heard daily from veterans about worrisome reductions in services for mental and dental health care.  Community partners, including the Douglas County Veterans Forum, have requested greater insight into issues facing RVAHCS, including the impact of U.S. Postal Service (USPS) changes on the delivery of prescription drugs to veterans.

In 2017, an investigation into the Roseburg VA Medical System prompted by Rep. DeFazio, led to improved standards of care for veterans nationwide.

For a PDF copy of the letter to Director Allen, click here.