Veterans Voice Concerns about VA Healthcare at Town Hall Meeting

Posted at 12:13 AM, Jun 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-10 01:13:00-04

Veterans from as far away as Stephenville voiced their concerns about the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System at a town hall meeting in Waco Tuesday evening.

Margaret Weiss, who attended the meeting to represent the Veterans Objective Initiative Group, said vets need a clinic in Stephenville.

There are some transportation options for veterans, but the acting director of the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System recognizes it is something the system struggles with because of the rural nature of the Central Texas communities.

Weiss said it is challenging for veterans from Stephenville to travel or take time off to get routine medical care in Waco or Temple.

"There are so many of them out there that I've heard so many stories that a lot of them physically can't make the trip here, financially can't afford to make a trip here and nobody is voicing for them,” said Weiss.

Veterans in Stephenville can go to an outpatient clinic in Brownwood instead, but Weiss said their care is unreliable. In addition, she said she tried calling them for three weeks but no one answered the phone.

Central Texas Veterans Health Care System acting director Russell Lloyd said this is the first time he has heard about this concern, but they would look into it.

"[We will] identify if there had been a staffing issue that day, if there had been a problem with the phone system. [We will] reinforce with our staff the importance of answering those phones so veterans can get the care they need,” said Lloyd.

Lloyd said adding a clinic in that area could potentially be a possibility as they consider new points of access for VA services.

Other veterans from the Waco area expressed concerns about waiting on the phone to talk with a representative with the hospital. Central Texas Veterans Health Care officials said they continue to work to improve their phone issues and representative's phone etiquette.