Posted: Mar 16, 2012 9:58 PM by Shawn Kline
Updated: Mar 16, 2012 10:24 PM
For years, veterans have asked for a larger VA Clinic in Lafayette and many thought they would get one when Washington approved construction last year but now the project is suddenly cancelled.
The delay is not only frustrating veterans but some members of congress as well.
Veterans currently have an 11-thousand square-foot clinic on Jefferson St. Many say that's not enough for the more than 60-thousand vets in Acadiana.
Veterans Affairs reported what they call "clerical errors," putting the new VA Hospital-Clinic dubbed the "super clinic" is on hold.
"This is a contracting issue right now," VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said. "There's a process we have to go through."
VA Secretary Shinseki explained the delay to a senate committee, telling them to expect more delays for Lafayette's new VA hospital and more frustrations for veterans like Skip Palmintier.
"97-percent of this care can be handled right here." Palmintier says, "if we have a larger clinic and a larger base of physicians."
Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter are pushing Shinseki and the VA to power-through these delays attributed to "clerical errors."
Congressmen Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry also have questions about this most recent set-back:
"There was some bureaucrat in Washington DC who filled out the wrong application," Landry said.
That error could set the project back by years but congressional leaders aren't accepting that as an excuse.
"If they are the ones who designed the process, that means they can shortcut that process," said Landry.
A shortcut! Palmintier says that's exactly what veterans need to get the ball rolling through Lafayette.
"The plans are there, the set up is there, the money is there." Palmintier says, "let's get the other stuff taken care of get down to what we're supposed to be doing."
Here's what's next: Representatives Landry and Boustany along with Senators Landrieu and Vitter are scheduled to meet with VA Secretary Shinseki in Washington on Tuesday to get to the bottom of what went wrong and what's next in the process to get Lafayette its own super-clinic.