McMorris Rodgers Joins Effort to Halt AIR Commission, Protect Services at Eastern Washington VAs

Jun 30, 2022
Press
Veterans

Washington, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today continued her fight to protect health care services at the Spokane and Walla Walla VA Medical Centers from misguided recommendations made as part of the Assets and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission process.  

In a letter to VA Secretary Denis McDonough, Cathy reiterated her strong opposition to any reduction or elimination of services at the VAMCs in Eastern Washington, and she expressed her support of a bipartisan group of Senators’ efforts to block the appointment of AIR ACommission members.

“I’ve said from the start that reducing or eliminating care options at the Spokane and Walla Walla VAs would be a disservice to the men and women in our communities who sacrificed so much for our country,” said Rodgers. “Stopping the AIR commission in its tracks was the first step in preventing their misguided recommendations from moving forward, but our work is far from over. It’s time to double down and prevent VA leadership from pulling the red carpet out from under our veterans by reducing services through an alternative restructuring process, which is exactly what I plan to do.”

In March, the Department of Veterans Affairs released its Asset and Infrastructure Review report that includes recommendations by the VA Secretary McDonough to modernize and realign the VA health care system. The report is published in the Federal Register and submitted to Congress and a presidentially appointed AIR Commission. 

Last week, a bipartisan group of Senators led by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) blocked the appointment of AIR Commission members, effectively ending the commission and preventing its recommendations from moving forward. 

In her letter to Secretary McDonough, Cathy pushed for answers to the following questions:

  • How does the clinical restructuring process work at a VAMC? What are the steps to such a restructuring?
  • Is clinical restructuring approved on a local, VISN, or an overall department level?
  • What is the VA’s stance on individual facilities carrying out changes proposed to in the AIR Commission report?
  • Are you aware of any plans to reduce or eliminate inpatient services at Mann-Grandstaff?
  • How has the closure of the Emergency Department and delayed re-opening of 24-hour urgent care affected the in-patient census at Mann-Grandstaff? What is the timeline for returning to 24-hour service?

Click here to read the full letter.

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