Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard released the following statement today calling for immediate review of the care that 68-year old Vietnam combat veteran Roy Hall received from the Hilo VA clinic before his death on Saturday:
“Roy Hall served in our country’s military in Vietnam, and like all veterans, he was promised quality medical care from exceptional health professionals. I had the privilege of speaking with Mr. Hall just a couple days before his death, and he shared the service-related illnesses, PTSD, and nightmares he has struggled with for decades. His wish was that his fellow veterans not endure the hardship and struggle he experienced, especially in the last few months of his life.
“My heart goes out to Roy’s ʻohana, especially his wife Edy. She shared with me deeply disturbing issues regarding the care her husband received—particularly during the last several months of his life and up to the hours before he passed away. Roy’s last wish was to share his story with me and so many others in the hopes that it could lead to improved health care for all veterans. He told me to never give up and to continue fighting for our fellow veterans. I will honor Mr. Hall by never giving up and aggressively investigating the issues he and his wife have raised—for them, and for all of our veterans who deserve the highest standard of care.”
In response to investigations revealing egregious wait times across the country for veterans seeking an appointment with a primary care physician, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Access to Care and Treatment (ACT) Now for Veterans Act. The premise of the ACT Now for Veterans Act, to allow veterans to get the immediate care they need from non-VA medical providers, was ultimately included in the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act signed in to law in 2014.
She has continued to push for accountability and systemic changes at the VA to ensure veterans get the critical quality care they need, including introducing the Veterans Administration Bonus Elimination Act to prevent bonuses for senior VA executives who fail to meet VA requirements for veterans health care, working to reform veteran mental health care, and more.