WICHITA, Kansas – After being under scrutiny for the mishandled care of veterans the VA is trying to improve the system of care. On Thursday, the Wichita VA hosted their fifth town hall meeting to give veterans an opportunity to share questions and concerns in hopes of improving the care they’re receiving.
“We did write a blank check up to and including our lives when we went and did what we did as veterans, do we still have to pay?” said James R. Franklin, an Army Vet.
There were strong opinions from the Veterans that came out to speak during an open forum at the Wichita VA on Thursday.
Many shared positive stories about the medical center, but even with that there was concern.
“There are deficits at this VA. I still think it’s the best in the country, but I think there is room for improvement,” said Airforce Veteran Lurae Horse.
She is one of several Veterans who says they’ve had to wait on the Choice Program. A program that is meant to speed up care through a third party within thirty days. She’s been waiting more than six months to meet a physical therapist in Colorado.
“If vets are still waiting vets are probably still dying waiting,” Horse said.
The VA set up several options for Veterans at the meeting including a Q&A session and an opportunity to talk one-on-one with specialists.
“We’re always wanting to get better so that’s why we’re doing town halls and we’re talking to the community to see how we can continue to get better so we can deliver world class service to our nation’s heroes,” said Director of Robert J. Dole VA Francisco Vasquez.
Thursday’s meeting was the fifth town hall in Wichita and some, like Navy Vet Larry McIntire as well as Franklin shared they feel like concerns voiced at past meetings still haven’t been addressed.
“I’m not going to tell you that they’re ignoring them, but the answer to ‘are they reacting to it well?’ No,” Franklin said.
Vasquez tells KSN it takes time to sort out larger issues, but that there are changes being made.
Although there is frustration from Vets many said Thursday that they do see and appreciate the value of having their voices heard.
“I believe it will be addressed, I believe that the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” Franklin said.