Veterans voice concerns and frustrations at Biloxi VA town hall - - The News for South Mississippi

Veterans voice concerns and frustrations at Biloxi VA town hall meeting

The Biloxi VA hosted a town hall meeting Tuesday night to hear concerns about the Gulf Coast VA Health Care System.

About 40 veterans attended the meeting inside the recreation hall at the Biloxi campus.

The new secretary of the VA ordered the series of town hall meetings or "listening sessions" as part of the national response to complaints about long patient waiting times and substandard health care at the VA.

The crowd in was small, but vocal.  

We understand that we're going to hear some things and recommendations on how we can improve and that's why we're here tonight, said Mark Morgan, the acting director of the Gulf Coast VA Health Care System.

The acting director of the Gulf Coast VA did hear plenty from the small group of veterans in attendance.

Gulf War vet Scotty Hisaw had diagnostic concerns about his PTSD.

I want to get into the PTSD program so I can start living a normal life again. So, why does some doctors say I have it and some doctors say I don't have it, said Hisaw.

Veteran Kenneth Colvin called the VA November 18th to get an appointment for his shoulder injury.

And I was told, the nurse will get back with you. I have yet to hear from the nurse.  How long does it take to hear from a nurse to have an appointment made for me?' he questioned, I don't think they really care about checking up on setting appointments or anything because it might overtax them a little bit.

Another veteran, who didn't want to be identified, voiced praise for the VA's PTSD program.

I can't say enough. You've got a great group of people that really cares about us. And it saved my life. It saved my life. And I can't thank the VA enough, he said.

In my opinion, the VA system in the gulf area is broken, said veteran Michael Johnston.

I just want to be seen within a reasonable time period. Not six months out. Not a year out, he said.

I'm not going to be able to magically make it better. But what I can do is lead by example and provide that commitment. And the rest of the staff are listening tonight and we'll use this time to make ourselves better, said director Morgan.

The Gulf Coast VA serves about 66,000 veterans and their families in a service area which stretches from Biloxi to Panama City, Florida.

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