U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt to visit St. Louis VA hospital, as Missouri politicians address VA complaints

May 28, 2014

Credit File Photo / KBIA

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt is scheduled to be in St. Louis today to meet with officials at the VA hospital about concerns raised over mental health care. The visit comes amid calls from several Missouri politicians to address complaints about VA services. U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, visited the University of Missouri campus Friday to announce the results of her survey of veterans' satisfaction with VA services in Kansas City, St. Louis and Columbia. And Congressmember Vicky Hartzler, a Republican representing Missouri 4th Congressional district, plans a visit to the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital, in Columbia, today.

Dr. Jose Mathews, the former chief of psychiatry at the St. Louis VA Medical Center, said earlier this month that veterans often wait a month or more for mental health treatment because psychiatrists and other staff members see too few patients.

Mathews also claimed in a federal whistleblower complaint that he was demoted after raising his concerns.

A VA spokeswoman has said the allegations are being investigated.

The complaint by Mathews comes amid other problems raised at VA medical centers around the country, including reports that as many as 40 veterans died while awaiting medical care from the VA hospital in Phoenix.