(WICHITA, Kan.) -

The lives of Kansas veterans were put at risk and they deserve better.  That's what U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R., KS) wrote to the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Moran and his staff have been looking into problems at the Robert J Dole VA Medical Center, as the Department of Veterans Affairs works to solve the current medical crisis for vets.

The 12 page letter, which was sent last week to acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson, outlines specific problems at the Wichita veterans hospital.

Moran mentions conversations his staff had with VA employees and whistle blowers detailing situations where veterans' lives were put at risk.  And he claims employees were forced to work in an environment filled with fear of retribution.

Among the claims Moran makes:

  • VA leaders ordered the suspension of large business contracts with radiology clinics, oncologists and community hospitals that limited veterans' access to care.
  • Executive bonuses were tied to cost-saving, a practice which compromised the quality of care.  The local director placed too much emphasis on promoting efficient spending.  To the point where there was a conflict of interest.
  • Some funding sources were so tied up in bureaucratic red tape veterans had to wait for critical health services like chemotherapy and dialysis.
  • The VA director misused a $2.2 million rural health grant.   The money was supposed to be used to fill nearly two dozen home health care positions in Liberal and Dodge City.  Moran believes it was "wasted".

Franciso Vazquez took over as director of the Dole facility last October.  It's clear much of this happened before his watch, but not all.

FactFinder 12 called the director's office today.  A spokeswoman said he was on vacation, but that she sent him a copy of Moran's letter this morning.  Vazquez is expected back in the office Monday.