UPDATED ADVISORY: Health Veterans Affairs Committee To Hear From Acting VA Secretary on Fixes to Dept. Health Care, Integrity, Accountability Failures

Please note the witness list has been updated below.

Media Advisory    

For Immediate Release
July 23, 2014
Media Contact: Curt Cashour

HVAC To Hear From Acting VA Secretary on Fixes to Dept. Health Care, Integrity, Accountability Failures

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs will hold a hearing on Thursday, July 24, 2014, at 9:30 AM in room 334 of the Cannon House Office Building to examine the steps VA has taken in response to the many problems facing the department, including extensive patient wait times, manipulation of data within the Veterans Health and Veterans Benefits Administrations as well as VA's widespread and systemic lack of accountability.

Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson will testify before the committee just over a week after telling the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs that VA would need $17.6 billion in additional funding over the next three years. Gibson's request came despite the fact that VA has had hundreds of millions more in medical care funding than it could spend each fiscal year since 2010 and after years of assertions from VA leaders at all levels that the department had nearly every dollar and every person necessary to accomplish its mission.

The committee will also hear from Gibson regarding VA's efforts to regain the trust of veterans, Congress, veterans service organizations and other important stakeholders in the wake of recent department scandals. The department's delays in care scandal came to light after an April 9 HVAC hearing revealed whistleblower allegations that senior Phoenix VA Health Care System officials were lying about medical appointment wait times. A subsequent internal VA audit found that some VA health care facilities suffer from a "systemic lack of integrity." In recent years, the relationship between VA and the committee has becoming increasingly strained, with VA officials instructing employees to stonewall Congress, providing misleading congressional testimony and VA's continued reluctance to respond to committee requests for information, of which there are 118, some dating back as far as 2012.

The following event is open to the press:
WHO:       House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
WHEN:    9:30 AM, Thursday, July 24, 2014
WHERE:  334 Cannon House Office Building and streaming at veterans.house.gov

The witness list is below.


Panel 1
The Honorable Sloan D. Gibson
Acting Secretary
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Accompanied by:

Mr. Danny Pummill
Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits
Veterans Benefit Administration
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Philip Matkovsky
Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Administrative Operations
Veterans Health Administration
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Panel 2
Ms. Verna Jones
Veterans Affairs Director
The American Legion

Mr. Ryan M. Gallucci
Deputy Director, National Legislative Service
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States

Mr. Carl Blake
Acting Associate Executive Director for Government Relations
Paralyzed Veterans of America

Mr. Joseph A. Violante
National Legislative Director
Disabled American Veterans

Mr. Rick Weidman
Executive Director of Government Affairs
Vietnam Veterans of America

Mr. Alex Nicholson
Legislative Director
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America


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