Oklahoma Lawmakers, VA Argue Over State Of Veterans Homes

Tuesday, April 11th 2017, 6:45 pm

Lawmakers are at odds at the State Capitol over care at Oklahoma's seven veterans homes. 

House members held a press conference to point out what they call serious problems at all seven veterans homes. But the VA says if there are problems, the legislature is to blame.

Several state representatives brought up concerns including veterans homes locking down EKG machines, no longer providing blood tests and using a new software designed for nursing homes, not care facilities.

"What I'm saying is this is not the commitment that we've made to our veterans and we need to fulfill those commitments," said Rep. Chuck Hoskin, D-District 6.

The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs says the EKG machines and blood work isn't done anymore because of $10-million in cuts the legislature approved. Members of the newly formed Veterans Caucus say this isn't about veterans’ care. It's about politics.

"If they truly had these concerns and they wanted an investigation, as an elected official they could pick up the phone, call the attorney general, or the legislative liaison, and request one,” said Rep. Josh West, R-District 5. “But instead they called for a press conference based on allegations for one reason, because they know it's going to get media attention. This was for political and personal reasons."

The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs says if lawmakers want the services restored, they have to restore the funding.