Rep. Martha Roby sending staff to probe problems within Central - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Rep. Martha Roby sending staff to probe problems within Central Alabama VA

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Congresswoman Martha Roby speaks with WSFA 12 News reporter Melissa Johnson during an interview on Today in Alabama. Congresswoman Martha Roby speaks with WSFA 12 News reporter Melissa Johnson during an interview on Today in Alabama.
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

U.S. Representative Martha Roby will be dispatching top staff members to Alabama to meet with those who had knowledge of problems within the Central Alabama VA.

Since Tuesday, Roby says her office has been digging deeper into what disciplinary actions were taken against those who were involved in falsifying wait time records at Montgomery and Tuskegee's VA Facilities. In a recent audit, those two facilities were ranked the 7th worst in the country when it comes to wait times and delayed care for veterans.

Thursday morning, Rep. Roby talked with WSFA 12 News Reporter Melissa Johnson about the ongoing VA scandal and her claims that Central Alabama VA Director James Talton misled her.

Last week, Roby met with Talton. She says she left that meeting believing that employees who had falsified wait time records had been terminated, though Roby later found out that was not the case. Those employees had simply been reassigned to other jobs. Since that information surfaced, Roby and Talton have spoken by phone. Roby tells WSFA 12 News that Talton apologized for what he called a misunderstanding. Right now, Roby's office is looking into what disciplinary actions have been taken against those employees; she says at this point, she can't say if she believes action should be taken against Talton as well.

Thursday morning, members of Congress say they are confident they can agree on a bill to improve Veterans' Health Care. Wednesday, the US Senate approved a bill allowing veterans who can't get treatment at a VA Hospital to see private doctors instead. The House passed a similar measure Tuesday. The legislative effort comes as the FBI revealed it has opened a criminal investigation into the VA about allegations of falsified records and treatment delays. Roby says she believes the FBI probe is a step in the right direction.

"These are people who have put their lives on the line fighting for our Freedom. We can't forget that. They deserve the best quality care, and they also deserve it in a timely fashion. So, I believe the FBI Investigation is certainly the way to go. There could be folks who are criminally prosecuted as a result of this," Roby said.

Rep. Roby has long advocated for utilizing community hospitals, doctors and clinics to alleviate the VA backlog and get veterans the care they need right away. Specifically, she has championed the Patient Centered Community Care program as a way to streamline veterans access to local, private sector care.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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