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Sen. Donnelly calls VA emails “disgraceful”

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly filed three bills Wednesday that are aimed at improving mental health care for veterans.

Donnelly also spoke out regarding the recent controversy at the Roudebush VA Medical Center.

The senator says the suspension of a health clinic manager at the Roudebush Medical Center is the right thing to do. He stopped short of calling for Robin Paul to be fired, saying that all of the facts need to be gathered first.

Paul is on administrative leave after following the disclosure that she sent emails to other VA employees that appear to mock the mental health issues faced by veterans.

One of the holiday season messages included the picture of an elf hanging from an electrical cord.

It upset Sen. Donnelly, who said, “I have no understanding of why they’ve waited so long to jump on this, to deal with it. You know, apparently they knew two months ago or even further back.”

He went on to say, “I was appalled by the email. I thought it was disgraceful and I wish that the VA had dealt with it sooner and had been up front with it sooner.”

An internal investigation is underway at the Roudebush Medical Center.

Meantime, the bills filed by Donnelly call for new methods for treating mental illness, as well as training for physician assistants who could help address a shortage in mental health providers.

Donnelly calls it a mental health “care package.”