Wichita VA director gets heat from veterans at town hall meeting

WICHITA, Kansas – Kansas veterans direct tough questions to Wichita VA officials about the long wait for care.

KSN has been going inside the VA for months, investigating what some veterans call ‘slow care’.

Since our exclusive investigation began, the director of the Wichita VA Center has not been on camera, until today.

Today KSN got a chance to ask VA Wichita director Francisco Vazquez questions. We were not alone; veterans had a lot of pointed questions.

“That’s all I get is paperwork. Thank you for sharing that with me.”

‘Thank you for sharing that with me’, it’s a phrase the Robert Dole VA Center director, Vazquez said more than two dozen times. Today he said he was there to listen.

“I feel we are definitely making some progress. In fact, this year, for the second year in a row, we have been certified as a five star quality VA medical center,” said Vazquez.

VA town hall meeting (KSN Photo)
VA town hall meeting (KSN Photo)

The veteran center did have helpers on hand to answer questions specific to veteran concerns.

But veterans had many questions about the care they get, the lack of speed of service, and paperwork trails that continue to delay their care.

“You get blown away, or you get so discouraged that you give up. Why? Why do I have to fight this war?”

One of the big frustrations many veterans said about the high turnover rate of physicians, and why they can’t keep a doctor over time?

“I’ve had several people ask me that. Why can’t I keep a primary care physician. How do you respond to that?” said Vazquez. “The way I respond to that is I responded to our veterans that we are going to have turnover. And there’s competition for hiring these physicians in the community.”

While many complained about changing doctors, several veterans also continued to ask, “Why is veteran care still so slow?”

“Is there some definition for that? Has that changed? This is out of the latest book. Has that changed

The director also said he assures us the VA in Wichita is making progress in waiting times and care. He said paperwork is also a priority to speed care.

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