Mississippi delegation trying to get regional VA appointment cha - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi delegation trying to get regional VA appointment changed

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A new Veterans Affairs appointment is kicking up dust with Mississippi's Congressional delegation. 

Dr. Skye McDougall has been appointed as the Network Director for the South Central Veterans Affairs Health Care Network. Before that, she was appointed to Arizona. 

Its congressional delegation said she wasn't welcomed.

Now, Dr. Skye McDougall isn't being welcomed to the Hospitality State with open arms. In fact, the Congressional delegation made a rare united move in signing off on a letter to keep her out.

"We wish Dr. McDougall well, just not in Mississippi," said Congressman Gregg Harper

"Put somebody in a position of trust who's already lied to Congress," added Congressman Bennie Thompson. "That doesn't speak well to what you're trying to do."

McDougall testified for the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs earlier this year. She said the wait times for veterans to receive care at the Southern California VA facilities averaged four days. 

Documents later revealed the average was 48 days.

A response from the Department of Veterans Affairs says McDougall's statement was correct but reflected not just new but also established patients.

Still, veterans don't think she is the trustworthy leader Mississippi needs.

"We're going to be used sort of as a halfway house," explained Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Erik Hearon, USAF. "We're very concerned we're going to be a dumping ground for people who are not really entitled to be employed."

Hearon said it seems a problem comes up in one VA and reappears in others around the country.

"This is like a very serious game of whack a mole," added Hearon.

Senator Roger Wicker said that's all the more reason to keep McDougall out.

"This is a matter of trust and Mississippi veterans have suffered in the past due to mismanagement by the department of veterans affairs," said Wicker.

Congressman Bennie Thompson said the delegation is working to get a meeting with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs by the end of the week.

The hope is that the appointment will be changed.

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