Murray Sends Letter to Walla Walla Local Advisory Panel

Sep 30 2005

Senator encourages panel to approach Pricewaterhouse Coopers options with caution

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) yesterday sent a letter to members of the Walla Walla VAMC Local Advisory Panel urging a cautious approach to any options for realigning care at the Walla Walla VA facility. The letter was also signed by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash) and Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore).

“Given the budgetary challenges the VA faces and the track record of promising services that have not yet become a reality, we request that you demand a clear plan on how and when the VA plans to move forward with any option,” the Senators wrote.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers – the consulting firm commissioned by the VA to look into possible options for the future operations of the Walla Walla VA facility – recently offered their options to the Local Advisory Panel. The options range from no change in service to complete closure of the facility to expanded services in other locations.

“We request that you approach with caution any Pricewaterhouse Coopers options that include reducing capital assets in the region while committing to future expansions of VA services… With no services in the region to replace those provided by the Walla Walla Medical Center, rising utilization rates in Veterans Integrated Services Network 20 [VISN 20], and no clear commitment to actually providing the expanded services promised, we hope you will examine each option carefully and select those that best keep the needs of veterans in mind.”

Read the complete letter to the Advisory Panel.