Members of Congress with Veterans Administration facilities in or near their districts know what to do: go there. U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) says the big facilities in Marion and Danville have some age on them. While Danville has access to the Champaign-Urbana medical community, he says Marion has a hard time attracting help. Shimkus says you can divide the clientele into two groups: those who swear by the VA and those who swear at it.
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U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-East Moline) says some of her visits have been unannounced. She says, anecdotally, constituents are going out of their way to praise the treatment they have been getting. Visiting the large facilities at Danville and the Quad Cities, Bustos says the 1970s-vintage scheduling software and red tape-choked expansion hopes are the biggest problems she has seen. More important than those pieces, she says, is the big picture. “You’ve got to go way beyond (asking), is the scheduling system messed up. It’s got to be (a question of) the VA delivering the best outcome for the veterans – every time.”