June 22, 2018

Hirono Meets with VA Secretary Nominee Robert Wilkie

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono met with Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) nominee, current Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Robert Wilkie today. The meeting occurred ahead of Undersecretary Wilkie’s Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee confirmation hearing on June 27.

Following the meeting, Senator Hirono issued the following statement:

“I welcome Undersecretary Wilkie’s recent experience in roles managing the health and benefit systems of the Department of Defense and the VA. This experience is critically important to ensure our servicemembers have a seamless transition from active duty to civilian life. I will hold him to his commitment that he will not privatize the VA and protect VA’s central role in coordinating care for veteran patients. We also discussed the unique challenges Hawaii veterans face, and our shared commitment to improving access to health care services for veterans in rural communities through telehealth services and the timely completion of pending VA clinics in Hawaii. I look forward to hearing more from Undersecretary Wilkie at his confirmation hearing."

As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Congress recently passed her legislation with Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) to expand VA telehealth services as part of the VA MISSION Act which also includes her provisions maintaining veteran access to care at Native Hawaiian Health Centers. In March, she visited the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo to highlight her recently enacted legislation with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to increase reimbursements for adult day health care services for severely disabled veterans. Senator Hirono recently worked with the VA to continue providing nursing home care services for Maui veterans.