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Memorial Day May 28, 2012


Oklahoma Veteran Affairs:

The state Senate on 10 MAY announced an interim study into
organization, structure, staff and policies of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The announcement was made
following reports of abuse and neglect in a recent story in The Journal Record, an Oklahoma City-based daily
business newspaper. Sen. Frank Simpson, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs,
requested the study. "We were shocked and saddened by recent stories about alleged abuse and neglect in our state's
veterans centers," Simpson, R-Ardmore said. "As a veteran myself, I can't express how upset I am by the situation
and I want to find a solution to these problems as quickly as possible. That's why I've requested this study so we can
take a hard look at the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs and make it more responsive to the needs of our
state's veterans." Veterans gave their country their best, Simpson said. They deserve nothing less from the state
when it comes to their care, Simpson said.
The study will focus on the structure and responsibilities of the War Veterans Commission, which has oversight
over the seven veterans' centers and the agency. It will also focus on reports of abuse at the centers, staffing at the
centers and the role of the secretary of veterans affairs within the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs.
Simpson said he will visit the seven centers operated by the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs. Patients and
their family members as well as staff are expected to be interviewed. Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, is
expected to appoint members of the interim study group within the next few weeks. House Speaker Kris Steele, RShawnee, said the House would be happy to join the Senate in the study. "We care about our veterans and want to