Florida Gov. Rick Scott is renewing his call for state inspectors to enter federal veterans’ hospitals as a new VA secretary takes office. Florida inspectors were turned away from the facilities earlier this year.
The Veterans Affairs Administration contends Florida inspectors do not have jurisdiction to evaluate the hospitals. In an e-mail, VA spokeswoman Cindy Snook says, "VA and its medical centers are components of the federal government and as such are not subject to Florida laws which may authorize unannounced inspections of state medical facilities."
Scott sent inspectors a few times this spring amidst a national scandal surrounding long wait lists that led to the resignation of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.
As new Secretary Bob McDonald takes the reins, Scott sent him a letter Monday once again demanding access. The governor talked about his concerns last week at a veterans’ award ceremony in Jacksonville.
“They should want the same goal we have: We want our veterans to have the best health care," Scott said. "They need to be more accountability (sic). They need to be more transparency (sic). I hope the new secretary will do that.”
The state Agency for Health Care Administration has an ongoing lawsuit against the VA seeking access to the hospitals. As the Tampa Bay Times reported, several of the suit’s claims about one patient’s care are not supported by his medical records.