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McCaskill unveils "Healthcare Experience" program for Mo. VA facilities

As veterans stand near, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) unveils her new program, Veterans Healthcare Expirence Program (VHEP), that is intended to improve healthcare at the John Cochran Medical Center in St. Louis on Feb. 22, 2011. (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Amid continued sterilization problems at John Cochran Medical Center in St. Louis, Sen. Claire McCaskill announced a new program today to try to improve veterans’ experiences at VA facilities in Missouri.

The Veterans Healthcare Experience Program will allow veterans to provide confidential feedback through a survey and requires the VA to respond publicly within 30 days to any concerns.

McCaskill says it's a positive way to address a lack of confidence in the care provided by Cochran.

"It will give us a rolling pulse of the veterans community as to how they feel about the way they are being treated at Cochran," McCaskill said.

McCaskill says veteran service organizations helped design the survey.

Dave Morgan is with the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He says all service organizations are behind the survey effort.

"This is a beginning," Morgan said, "This is a positive approach that we're going.  A lot of people have been screaming down the road about John Cochran, but you know what, we're gonna change that direction. Is there a glitch?  Sure. But we're gonna change that glitch."

After an initial 90 day survey period in St. Louis, the program will go statewide.

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