The American Legion readies report with help from coast vets

The National American Legion hosted a town hall meeting in Gautier Monday night, giving coast veterans a chance to voice concerns with the Department of Veteran Affairs.
The National American Legion hosted a town hall meeting in Gautier Monday night, giving coast veterans a chance to voice concerns with the Department of Veteran Affairs.

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - The National American Legion hosted a town hall meeting in Gautier Monday night, giving coast veterans a chance to voice concerns with the Department of Veteran Affairs.

The Legion brought in representatives from both Washington and New York to head the meeting with hopes of gathering information to help the VA better serve the men and women who depend on its services.

The veterans who showed up to the special meeting didn't hold back as they shared their concerns.

"Some of the concerns were with getting access to care, appointments in a timely fashion. In some areas with primary care, specialty care. We heard that Veterans are having to leave the area for care and they're being faced with these concerns. We just want to ensure that veterans are getting quality and timely care so that's why we do these visits," Gadd said.

Those visits, formally knows as 'The System Worth Saving Program,' stem from a program founded in 2003. It's a way to evaluate both the timeliness and quality of VA healthcare across the nation.

The reps from the American Legion listened closely to the veterans' concerns.

"We'll write a report," American Legion Deputy Director for Health Care Jacob Gadd said. "We're doing a random sampling of 25 facilities around the country. The reports from those visits are compiled into a publication that we give to congress, the president, and the VA secretary on the quality of care in these facilities

Local veterans say they're proud to take part in the effort.

"I really believe with this meeting we've had tonight and with the concerns that have been addressed tonight, that it will get better," State Commander James Edwards said.

"All the veterans that were here, they really gave us their perspective which is really important to ensuring that they're getting the care they've earned," Gadd said.

Tuesday, the legion will conduct a visit with the Biloxi V.A. Medical Center. The report made from each of these visits is expected to be released sometime in August.

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