FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA) — Lawmakers are speaking up to improve VA policies after a former pathologist was found impaired on the job.
Robert Morris Levy, 53, was indicted on 12 counts of wire fraud, 12 counts of mail fraud, four counts of making false statements in certain matters, and three counts of involuntary manslaughter.
On Thursday afternoon, Senator John Boozman toured the Fort Smith VA Outpatient Clinic to get an update on the status of an expansion and relocation that has been planned for several years.
This week he’s been on the road all over state talking about changes that have happened with the VA.
KNWA caught up with him to see what he’s going to do in Washington after Levy was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of three patients.
“We’re working very hard to make sure our veterans are taken care of,” Boozman said.
Sen. Boozman, who serves on the Committee on Veterans Affairs, says he met with the VA Inspector General about the investigation.
“What we want to do is make sure that this is just a case that was just confined to that area. We don’t want this to be a systemic problem throughout the VA,” he said.
He believes the VA has acted appropriately and with transparency regarding Levy.
“You work very hard to prevent it, and then you work very hard to respond in the right way once they do happen. I think we need to go forward. I know the Fayetteville VA with a renewed vigilance is trying to provide the very best care that they can. I think they do a good job in doing that. That’s my commitment — is to help them in any way that I can,” Boozman said.
On the other hand, he says members of the Committee on Veterans Affairs are insisting that policies and safeguards are appropriate at the VA.
“Making sure they have the resources so they can adequately, not only adequately, but we can treat veterans — have their care be as good or better than any place else in the private sector.”
“Dr. Levy has retained Mark Hampton and me to defend him against his indictment involving his practice as a pathologist at the VA.M. Darren O’Quinn, Attorney for Robert Morris Levy, M.D.
An indictment is an accusation only, and we are reviewing the accusations and collecting evidence. There have already been some misstatements about Dr. Levy’s conduct in the media. Dr. Levy maintains his innocence and we intend to vigorously defend him.”
Sen. Boozman says moving forward, he hopes this never happens again.
“When people do these kinds of things, there’s going to be a tremendous price to pay,” he said.
As part of Sen. Boozman’s tour, he’s also addressing the ongoing implementation of the VA Mission Act passed in 2018 to provide veterans with more choices and fewer barriers to community care.
It rolled out nationwide on June 6.