Federal officials to explore VA problems in Alaska hearings

An Anchorage hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday in the Assembly Chambers at the Loussac Library. Invited witnesses include a VA assistant secretary for employment and training services, the head of the VA's Anchorage office, an assistant inspector general with the VA, and state and local veterans officials. At 3 p.m. Tuesday, Begich and the assistant secretary are scheduled to host a roundtable discussion in Wasilla with veterans and employers on hiring and transition issues; this will be at the Meridian Point Office Center, 865 N. Seward Meridian Highway, Begich's office said.

A Fairbanks hearing is scheduled for the next day.

Late last year, the VA's regional office in Anchorage was found to have failed to meet requirements in 13 of 14 areas covered in an inspection by the VA's Office of the Inspector General. The audit found a lack of quality control, a high error rate, unnecessary delays and wrongful denial of services for some veterans, including those claiming disabilities for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, diabetes and traumatic brain injury. The regional office said it has made improvements since the inspection.

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