Corker calls for accountability from Veterans Affairs

President Barack Obama was on the defensive Wednesday afternoon when confronted with questions about the state of veterans affairs in the country.

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently came under scrutiny over allegations that government officials falsified data to hide how long some veterans have been waiting for care.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker told WBIR 10News he is concerned about the scandal.

Previous Story: VA treatment records falsified, probe finds

"Well, I think the whole country is outraged that these veterans we hold up on a pedestal who have served our country in the way that they have been treated in this manner," he said.

Corker said he's been having daily discussions with his Senate colleagues to come up with solutions. He said he wants more accountability and possibly some policy changes.

"So many of them feel trapped in the VA facility and feel like it's the only place they can get services," he said. "I think we need to change that so they have the kinds of options that you and I and others have."

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Corker added he has yet to hear of any major issues plaguing veterans care in East Tennessee besides bureaucracy in DC. He said sometimes local VA healthcare systems do not get the resources they have been promised.

Corker stopped short of calling for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down, but he said he believes the status of his leadership is certainly in question.

East Tennessee is served by the Mountain Home VA Healthcare system. More than 55,000 veterans receive care through that system and its various clinics. About 15,000 of those patients are treated at the Knoxville Outpatient Clinic.

Currently, there are only 3 patients in the entire Mountain Home system who have had to wait 14 days or later for an appointment.

According to Mountain Home, the average distance to Primary Care and Mental Health services for veterans is less than 25 miles for 95 percent of the patients they serve.

The system also said it expects its access to improve thanks to the opening of a Campbell County Outpatient Clinic in LaFollette and the expansion of the Sevierville Outpatient Clinic.

VIDEO: Full interview with Sen. Bob Corker on VA scandal


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