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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: May 9, 2012



Senate Interim Study announced to look at Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs

Following recent negative media reports about the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA), the Senate has announced an interim study to examine oversight of the organization as well as its structure, staff and policies. Sen. Frank Simpson, vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs, requested the interim study saying it was important in order to ensure that veterans receive the highest quality of care.

“We were shocked and saddened by recent stories about alleged abuse and neglect in our state’s Veterans Centers,” said Simpson, R-Ardmore. “As a veteran myself, I can’t express how upset I am by the situation and I want to find a solution to these problems as quickly as possible. That’s why I’ve requested this study so we can take a hard look at the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs and make it more responsive to the needs of our state’s veterans. They gave their country their best and they deserve nothing less from us when it comes to their care.”

The interim study will focus on the following areas:
- Structure and responsibilities of the War Veterans Commission
- Reports of abuse at the Veterans Centers
- Staffing levels at the Veterans Centers
- Role of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs within ODVA
- Any other issues that arise during the study

Simpson said he plans on the committee visiting the seven long-term care facilities operated by ODVA. Members will interview staff as well as patients and their families about the care they receive in order to find areas of care that need to be improved.

Rep. Tommy Hardin plans to participate in the interim study.

“The recent news reports coming out about the treatment of our veterans are very disturbing. Veterans’ issues are very important to me because I have served in the Marine Corps Reserve, and my son is also currently serving in Afghanistan,” said Hardin, R-Madill. “I look forward to the interim study to address and correct these issues. Our veterans deserve better!”

Senate Pro Tempore Brian Bingman will appoint members of the interim study group within the next few weeks.

For more information, contact:
Sen. Simpson: (405) 521-5607
Rep. Hardin: (405) 557-7383

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