Dillingham call-in site planned for VA listening session

Aug 17, 2015

Dillingham residents will have an opportunity to participate in a listening session on Veterans Administration issues later this month.

Dillingham: Sen. Dan Sullivan says two listening sessions and a field hearing scheduled next week will focus on issues with veterans access to healthcare. KDLG's Molly Dischner reports:

Audio Transcript:

VA Undersecretary of Health David Shulkin will conduct two listening sessions and a field hearing in Alaska on Aug. 24 and 25.

Sen. Dan Sullivan says he put a hold on Shulkin’s confirmation and asked him to visit the state to hear about how the CHOICE Act, which was signed into law in 2014, was working.

"Which has been a huge problem for Alaska, where it has cut off funding for partnerships with the VA and other medical health facilities and has essentially stopped VA service in its tracks for scores of Alaska veterans."

The officials will hear from Alaskans during three sessions in Fairbanks, Kenai and Eagle River. In Dillingham, a call-in site will be available at the Bristol Bay Native Association main office for the evening listening session on Aug. 24.

That session is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. In an email, coordinator Holly Johnson says anyone planning to testify, particularly on the CHOICE Act, should show up early to prepare and get signed up.

Sullivan says an exact path forward has not been finalized, but he expects some possible solutions to be discussed.

"That's what we're going to be focusing on. Whether and how to get the funding that allows our veterans to go to health care facilities throughout the state, particularly in the rural communities. Right now that got cut off with the implementation of the CHOICE Act, and it's been a real problem for our veterans, so that's what I've been focused on."

In Dillingham, I’m Molly Dischner.