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V.A. struggles to modernize its medical supply chain

Lawmakers worry veterans' health could be at-risk.

WASHINGTON — The Veterans Affairs Department continues to struggle to modernize its medical supply chain system. 

Lawmakers worry, as a result, the nation's 19 million military vets' health and well-being could be at risk.

Those fears were supported by the findings of a new Government Accountability Office report published Thursday.

The report suggests the V.A. is hurting its own chances of getting better care to veterans by being slow to adopt suggested changes. The report also says the V.A. isn't using established processes for major purchases.

Members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday demanded answers.

"Gambling with taxpayers' money and the medical supplies that our veterans rely upon is unacceptable and we must find a way to break this bureaucratic mess without delay," said Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Montana).

Rep. Chris Pappas (D-New Hampshire) echoed that sentiment.

"Clearly the V.A. needs a modern supply chain," Pappas said. "Our veterans and health care employees deserve nothing less. Unfortunately, VA is years away from that goal."

The GAO has made 51 recommendations to improve the V.A. since 2015. It's implemented only 22 of them.

"VA leaders need to change course before the whole medical supply chain crashes on the rocks," Rep. Tracey Mann (R-Kansas) urged.