Hultgren Meets with Commanding Officer of Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center
Washington, DC – Yesterday, U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) visited the Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, a combined Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD) facility serving veterans and active duty military. Rep. Hultgren requested a meeting with Director and Commanding Officer Captain Jose Acosta and Acting Deputy Director Michelle Blakely to share his concerns regarding the care Illinois veterans are receiving in light of the discovery of secret waiting lists at other VA centers that may have cost lives and facilitated the mistreatment and neglect of veterans in need of care.
”With more than 40 VA facilities under investigation for possibly forcing veterans to wait as many as 115 days for medical appointments, I want to make sure our service members in northern Illinois receive proper care,” said Rep. Hultgren. “I appreciated the time that the leadership team spent answering my questions at the Lovell Health Care Center, including Captain Jose Acosta, the Acting Director and Commanding Officer and Michelle Blakely, the Acting Deputy Director. They assured me there are no waiting lists at Lovell and they have taken proactive steps to ensure all veterans and active duty military are receiving quality care.”
(Rep. Hultgren with Michelle Blakely, Acting Deputy Director, and Capt. Jose Acosta, Acting Director and Commanding Officer)
The Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center is the country’s first federal health center that partners the VA and the DOD into a single, integrated health care facility. The facility is actually a system throughout Northeastern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin serving veterans in all their health care needs. Established in 2010 as a five-year demonstration project to provide health care for Great Lakes Naval Station recruits and sailors, it also serves military families and retirees.
“Seeing this country’s first federal health center that partners the VA and the DOD into a single, integrated health care facility was an eye opener,” said Rep. Hultgren. “They appeared to be doing good work, but they have their hands full with the patient workload and so much red tape that can get in the way of providing care in a timely fashion. As we remember the 70th Anniversary of the Allied invasion at Normandy, our country owes our veterans the best care and a full accounting of why and how the bureaucracy at the VA failed them.
“Capt. James Lovell, for whom the Center is named, successfully piloted Apollo 13 home after diverting near tragedy. If Capt. Lovell could get to the moon and back, then we as a nation can fulfill the promise of taking care of our veterans.”
Rep. Hultgren has demanded action for Illinois veterans whose healthcare needs may have been neglected or ignored by Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital in suburban Chicago or broader Veterans Administration, and has encouraged veterans in the 14th District to contact his Geneva district office for assistance in dealing with the VA and receiving proper care.
Rep. Hultgren worked with Congressional Leaders on legislation to address the issues with the VA and explore the possibility of providing veteran access to private healthcare in the case that the VA fails to provide needed care.