Wilkes-Barre, PA - Today, Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Congressman Dan Meuser (PA-09), and Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity met with officials at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center and urged them to improve the treatment of veterans at the facility.
Congressman Cartwright, Congressman Meuser and Treasurer Garrity called on Medical Center Director Russell E. Lloyd to immediately take concrete steps to:
- Increase the number of activities offered to veterans to pre-pandemic levels;
- Create guidelines and policies that encourage volunteers and retain staff;
- Update masking and vaccination standards to maximize access for volunteers;
- Create an outbreak plan that is consistent and maximizes morale for both veterans and staff;
- Resume Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (SARRTP) activities consistent with pre-pandemic plans;
- Increase nurse staffing levels;
- Enhance the phone systems; and
- Improve focus on quality-of-life concerns.
“Our promise is to take care of our Veterans, no matter what. I’m encouraged that the Wilkes-Barre VA has resumed its vital Group Therapy sessions, and that the most extreme restrictions on visitation have been lifted. We have more work to do, but I think we’re on the right track.”
Congressman, Matt Cartwright (PA-08)
“We had a good, very candid discussion with the Director and his staff. The Wilkes-Barre VA needs to understand positive Veteran satisfaction is the goal – outcomes over intent. Along with better addressing issues related to the complete patient experience, including outings and volunteers, the nurse staffing levels and phone systems need to be enhanced. We will continue to monitor the situation on behalf of our local Veterans.”
Congressman, Dan Meuser (PA-09)
“The Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center has essentially institutionalized our Veterans – our heroes – for the last three and a half years. We’ve heard about the problems at this facility from Veterans, their families, and staff. They’re out of patience, and so am I. It’s good that some progress is being made – but much more must be done. And if it doesn’t happen, we need new leadership at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center.”
Pennsylvania State Treasurer, Stacy Garrity
Congressman Cartwright, Congressman Meuser and Treasurer Garrity thanked Director Lloyd and his team for their recent decision to allow meetings of the Vietnam Veterans Support Group to resume at the VAMC.
They also pointed out that direct human interaction is a crucial part of quality, comprehensive healthcare – and it promotes healing. They encouraged the Wilkes-Barre VAMC to find a way to combine appropriate COVID safeguards with the power of touch in order to improve patient experiences, care and outcomes.
Samantha Heckel, Press Secretary (Treasury), 717-418-0206 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Hanrahan (Congressman Meuser), email@example.com Wendy Wilson (Congressman Cartwright), firstname.lastname@example.org