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Local veterans are upset over their quality of care

LAWTON, Okla._Following Wednesday’s report when officials from the Oklahoma City Veteran Affairs Medical Center gave the Fort Sill clinic an “A-“ rating, many local veterans felt that grade simply wasn’t justified.

One veteran, Alvin Overacker, went in for a dentist appointment when the dentist found Alvin had extremely high blood pressure and a heart rate over 100 beats per minute. The dentist immediately sent Alvin to see a doctor in the same VA facility, and after waiting for an hour, he gave up. Based on his previous experiences, it was going to be a lot longer before he would be seen.

Two days later he was in the ICU undergoing an emergency angioplasty.

Some veterans have rated it the worst, for service, staff, and care. For many, they just want the care they say they deserve.

Donna Overacker's husband spent ten years in the Navy, he now suffers from PTSD and several heart problems. Donna says just getting an appointment set up is a problem.

"You couldn't get a hold of the nurse. You had to leave a message. We would send her an email, since they have an email system. It would be five to seven days before they would even answer the email," said Donna Overacker.

Veterans say that if they want to see a doctor they should be able to, but veterans say it's tough at the Fort Sill clinic.

"Two and a half years he was down here at this clinic, saw her three times. We were getting cards from the VA [saying] ‘You need to see your primary care provider,’ six months it took to get an appointment," said Overacker.

The Overackers kept having problems until they received permission to move his care to Oklahoma City's VA hospital. Since then, they have been extremely happy. It's for reasons like this that most area veterans are fed up with the VA.

"Disgusted is one thing, insulted, hurt," said Vietnam War veteran Ken Moulton.

He now suffers from diabetes and nerve damage associated with Agent Orange.

"March 25, 2005, Congressman Cole. I've got problems with the VA. Nothing happened, nothing got fixed," said Moulton.

He read through some of the many letters he's sent to so many people trying to get it fixed.

"Senator Ross Feingold. Senator Joe Biden, he's vice president now. Senator Dorgon, Senator Shelby, Congressman Cole, Congresswoman Delorio from Connecticut," Moulton continued to go through the list of names he’s contacted.

Ken and other area veterans have voiced their complaints of neglect, laziness, and malpractice at the Fort Sill facility.

"Based on my experience I would give them an “F” for failure, and an “L” for being liars," Moulton said.

While the Oklahoma City Medical Center was unable to address each of the individuals’ problems they did send out a statement in which their Public Affairs Officer, Stacy Rine, said the following:

“I can tell you that all of our complaints are managed, tracked, and addressed through our patient advocates. After our visit this week, we are exploring the possibility of adding a full time patient advocate to our Fort Sill clinic."

She also said that their goal is to treat every veteran with the respect they deserve.

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