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Government

Rep. Yoder Says Veterans Need More Flexibility In Receiving Care

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KCUR

Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder says it's time for a change in national leadership at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Yoder, an Overland Park Republican, visited the VA Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday amid growing concern over long wait times for veterans. 

"Many of my constituents are lacking confidence in the response to what's occurred in Phoenix and across the nation," says Yoder. "They would like to see a new secretary and new leadership."

Like many other VA hospitals across the country, the Kansas City facility has a wait list. But Yoder says he didn't see any evidence during his visit that officials were trying to cover up how long veterans had to wait for care. 

"I'd like to see reforms nationally to allow veterans the flexibility to receive care outside the VA system if they so choose because of a delay in service at their VA," says Yoder, adding that those reforms should start with leadership changes at the top.

Fellow Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran, of Manhattan, has also called for the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

In a statement, a spokesman for the Kansas City VA Medical Center says wait times are regularly reviewed based on feedback from patients and veteran advocacy groups. The hospital has since added Saturday and evening clinic hours in an effort to serve more patients.

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