Rep. Collins’ proposal to inspect veterans’ health centers falls short
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Published: 18-Feb-2010

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 18-Feb-2010

For a short time on Wednesday afternoon (February 17), Rep. Wallace Collins of Norman thought his efforts to restore inspections at state-operated veterans’ centers might be headed for passage.

Members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives joined in a 96-3 vote to accept his amendment to a measure that had been offered by a Republican legislator. A short time later, a second vote split along party lines, with 38 voting in favor of Collins’ proposal and 61 voting against it.

The amendment would have appropriated $200,000 for use by the State Health Department to conduct inspections of the seven state-operated veteran’s centers located around the state.

“The State Health Department conducted these inspections until about five years ago, when someone decided it wasn’t necessary,” Collins explained. “Since then, we have relied solely on federal inspectors. The federal inspector for Norman was fired sometime back, and as far as I know, they haven’t been replaced and the center there hasn’t been inspected since.”

Under Collins’ bill, vets’ centers would be inspected under the rules and criteria used for Oklahoma nursing homes. Collins said.

He contended, “We’re always talking about transparency in government, and this is a good chance to do something about it. We should not be operating these centers without any measure of accountability in the state government, but that’s what we are doing now.”

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