218 Russel Senate Office Building
Washungton, DC 20510-0303
The Honorable Robert McDonald
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20420
Dear Secretary McDonald.
I was surprised to learn through media reports today that Skye McDougall, the acting
director of the Desert Pacific Healthcare Network in California, has been named director ofthe
Southwest Health Care Network. In her new capacity, Ms. McDougall will oversee the Phoenix
VA and other hospitals across Arizona and be responsible for ensuring that veterans across the
Southwest receive the medical care they need. 1 However, based on reports that Ms. McDougall
purposely misled Congress regarding wait times for veterans in Southern California, I am
extremely concerned by this appointment. I believe that this selection does nothing to regain
veterans' confidence that the VA has been reformed in the aftermath of the tragic scandal during
which veterans died waiting for care while senior VA executives collected monetary bonuses.
As the Phoenix VA Health Care System was ground zero for that scandal, the veterans in
my state deserve better than to have a director who misled Congress about patient wait times or
understated the severity of the VA's failures. Further, while Ms. McDougall appears to have
extensive experience in research and as part of the VA bureaucracy, our veterans deserve to have
a leader who understands patient care and knows how to improve it.
Given that the VA is still working to earn back the trust of veterans it betrayed from last
year's scandal and its own employees who have lost faith in the integrity of their senior leaders, I
urge you to reconsider this selection.
Thank you for your timely response to this letter.
United States Senator