Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: October 23, 2012
Sen. Frank Simpson
Senate Veterans Committee concludes ODVA study
On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Veterans and
Military Affairs held its fourth and final meeting studying the
state’s seven veterans’ centers. Sen.
Frank Simpson, who requested the study, said he was pleased
by the insight gained from veterans, their families, center staff
and members of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs as well
as the War Veterans Commission and the many others who testified
at the meetings.
“This could be a turning point in ODVA. Our goal from the
beginning was to make ODVA stronger. I know some of the things that
we heard shared with us in the meetings were painful to hear,”
said Simpson, R-Ardmore. “We’ve got a good foundation
to start working from. I’m encouraged with our new War Veterans
Commission and as proactive as they are in ensuring that ODVA is
made a better organization; and I hope out of all of this we end
up with an ODVA that is stronger and better able to meet the needs
of our veterans.”
Several people testified Thursday including Susan Early, daughter
of Jack King a resident at the Claremore Veterans Center; Thomas
Sanders, Ombudsman Volunteer at the Clinton Veterans Center; Esther
Houser, State Long Term Care Ombudsman in DHS’ Aging Services
Division; Mark Newman, Oklahoma Department of Health; Sterling Zearly,
OPEA; Regina McCracken, Ardmore Veterans Center Administrator; War
Veterans Commissioner Tom Sellers; Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Rita Aragon; and John McReynolds, ODVA Interim Director.
“This by no stretch of the imagination is the end of our study.
This is really just the beginning of what we hope will be a relationship
with ODVA with the goal being working together so we can strengthen
ODVA in order to make sure that our veterans are receiving the best
care they can possibly receive,” said Simpson, Vice Chair
of the Senate Veterans Committee.
Since the interim study began, the new members of the War Veterans
Commission have been diligently working to address some of the concerns
raised by veterans and their families as well as the staff at the
veterans’ centers. The commission has implemented a number
of improvements since the study began in the areas of personnel,
facilities, training and claims processing. These improvements can
be viewed on the Senate website at www.oksenate.gov under Committees
and Interim Studies.
All materials provided by the other presenters are also available
on the Senate website.
“This was a tremendously successful interim study and our
committee learned a lot about the ODVA and the veterans’ centers.
I want to thank everyone who took the time to come speak to our
committee,” said Simpson. “Thanks to their testimony
we’ll now be able to file legislation to address some very
important issues within ODVA and ultimately improve services for
Senators have until Friday, December 14th to request bills to address
other areas of concern raised throughout the study.
For more information contact:
Sen. Simpson: (405) 521-5630