Grassley calls for review of Iowa City VA system


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At least one University of Iowa student-veteran said he has never had any issues with treatment at Iowa City's Veterans Affairs Health Care facility, despite Sen.Chuck Grassley's call for review of the system.

Grassley, R-Iowa, called for the review in a letter he sent to Inspector General George Opfer on March 7.

Grassley never directly sent the letter to hospital officials, said Iowa City VA spokeswoman Valerie Buckingham. Instead, the VA received a copy of the letter from an anonymous source, she said.

In his letter, Grassley said over the past few months, he has received several reports of serious allegations at the Iowa City VA. Individuals called the work atmosphere "vindictive," which prevents some staff members from bringing serious matters to superiors' attention. They also suggested the morale was "terrible," resulting in some employees looking elsewhere for employment.

But not all who have received care at the hospital agree with Grassley's criticism.

UI sophomore Adam Connell, who served five years in the U.S. Navy, said that he has been to the Iowa City VA emergency room twice and never had issues with staff.

"I've never seen any corners crossed or anything," he said. "I've received nothing but great care."

Buckingham said she is not aware of any specific concerns, but the organization will welcome any input from the inspector general.

"VA employees have many avenues where they can share their concerns," she said. "At any time a concern is brought to our attention, we address it."

Buckingham said the VA is one of the most monitored and inspected health-care systems in the world.

"We welcome Sen. Grassley's interest and concerns for veteran issues," she said.

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