The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday against the Department of Veterans Affairs to gain access to inspect VA hospitals in Florida.
The AHCA’s lawsuit alleged that the VA has “failed to comply with minimum standards of patient safety in VA hospitals within the state of Florida. The AHCA has been demanding access to the hospitals since the VA scandal broke around a month ago.
The AHCA has demanded access to access to VA clinics in Gainesville, Lake City, Miami, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and West Palm Beach.
“The VA’s refusal to permit any such inspection or respond to FOIA public records requests, in the face of an ever-growing body of consumer complaint evidence, has led AHCA to be reasonably concerned that the VA is failing the very population it is charged by Congress with protecting,” the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit was announced on the same day that a bipartisan deal was reached in the U.S. Senate to address major issues with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The new bill allows eligible veterans to use non-VA medical care if they experience long wait times or live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA hospital or clinic.
The new bill authorizes the department to enter into leases for 26 major medical facilities in 18 states and to spend $500 million to hire new doctors and nurses with an expedited hiring process. The new bill should be debated next week and then get sent to the House of Representatives.