WICHITA, Kan. – Veterans waiting for care at Wichita’s VA hospital is nothing new.
Elton Parsons says it’s been more than a month, just to get an appointment.
“I had to have part of my leg removed,” says Parons. “And I’m trying to get to the point where I can get a prosthesis so I can walk again.”
Elton wonders if he should still be on a waiting list for care, since he’s still not getting an appointment. Elton’s care has been moved to the Veteran’s Choice Program.
“Every time I call they say it will be five to seven working days,” says Elton. “And after the five to seven days I call… I call back and they tell me it will be another five to seven days.”
So, Elton waits and wonders if he should still be on a waiting list.
Back in May of last year KSN investigated veterans that were on so-called secret lists that had been waiting for care for more than 90-days.
Shortly after, an audit revealed that there were 110 Kansans who were waiting for an appointment at the Wichita Veterans Hospital in Wichita.
Now, KSN has found, while the Wichita VA says the veterans on the list has shrunk, some are still waiting for care.
Only a month ago, the VA told KSN how it is improving.
“When we find areas that need improvement we work together as a team to find solutions,” said Wichita VA Director Francisco Vazquez.
But many veterans are continuing to reach out to KSN with issues of waiting for care.
Elton Parsons says he feels others, like himself, are waiting.
“First of all you have to wait for a very long time before they even answer the phone,” said Elton. “And then, secondly, they tell you they don’t have anything set up.”
Parsons says doctors at the VA have been helpful. But, he says he’s technically not on a waiting list.
It’s because he’s been put into that VA Choice Program where veterans can get care outside the VA.
KSN reached out to the Wichita VA for comment.
“The Veteran’s Choice program is administered by a private sector contractor, TriWest, said Wichita VA Relations Manager Johnathon Orrell. “It’s a new program. Whenever problems arise we contact TriWest directly. This allows us to resolve the immediate problem and to prevent recurrence of similar problems in the future.”
But Elton says he’s still waiting to get an appointment.