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VA Medical Center holds Town Hall meeting for veterans

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

FORT SILL-OK (KSWO) - Friday, The Oklahoma City VA Health Care Center hosted a Veterans Town hall meeting at Reynolds Army Hospital on Fort Sill to get feedback from veterans on the quality of care they're getting.

The Veterans each had a chance to voice their opinions and ask VA officials questions about issues they face and how the VA Center can correct the problems or better serve them.

There were VA representatives from the health care system, regional benefits office, and national cemetery providing information and assistance.

To provide better services for Veterans in Southwest Oklahoma, the center will be expanding in the Lawton area and making upgrades to the clinic. It will provide eye and audiology services,  expand mental health work social services, physical therapy , and prosthetics.

Elaine Garcia is just one of the many veterans at the town hall meeting who is concerned about money spent for health care.

"We are not necessarily always seen as individuals because of polices that the VA in Washington has set up for doctors and medical people that they have to follow and its getting pretty bad with budget cuts and the Veterans is the one that loses out," Garcia said.

Vietnam Veteran Jeff Bart said he is tired of getting denied for benefits he fought for.

"Simple things like everyday health care, going to the doctor for the flu or a cold, we are being denied those services because they are not being provided by the VA and they will not let you go to your family doctor," Bart said.

Bart cut his hand and had to drive 100 miles to the nearest VA Emergency room in Oklahoma City. Instead of getting his checkup in Lawton he had to go back to city.

"This is the kind of care that we are talking about being denied the doctor just got a bone on his back sight because he had to fix somebody else's start.Well that's what they are here for! It doesn't matter how we got here, fix it. If you can't send us to someone who can," Bart said.

But Medical Center Director Wade Vlosich said his top priorities is to make it easier for veterans to have access to care, care coordination, and customer satisfaction .

"What we are trying to do is we are hiring. We are looking at physicians, we are expanding the clinic, we realized that here in Lawton it's those sub-specialty services that impact them having to drive to OKC or going somewhere else in the community to get it so we are really trying to focus on these sub-specialty services in the local community," Vlosich said.

But Bart said those priorities are going to get swept under the rug.

"It's going to get smoked over again. They keep telling us all this stuff that going to happen, you track over the years and it never happens," Bart said.

Vlosich said he hopes things will start to fall in place once they get new providers that can better assist veterans. Vlosich said the expansion of the VA clinic is in its early stages, architects are designing and discussing the plans. The project is expected to be complete at the end of the year.

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