Big Spring VA Holds Town Hall To Hear Public Concerns

Big Spring VA Holds Town Hall To Hear Public Concerns

Anum Valliani

NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING -  There's been a lot happening with VAs across the nation since talks of secret waiting lists leaked out. Investigations were launched into various clinics if they did not meet national standards. The clinic at Big Spring was among a few in Texas flagged for a second evaluation. Thursday evening, the heads of staff of the West Texas VA Health Care System (WTVAHCS) held their first town hall to discuss issues and receive feedback on local issues.

It was a chance to squash rumors and to voice opinions. More than 50 people showed up to share concerns and feedback at the Big Spring VA Medical Center.
The town hall was an open Q & A session for the vets and officials to exchange comments. Some of them refreshingly positive. One thing not discussed was the second inspection due for the center, that's because it still hasn't happened.

"There wasn't anything untoward being done here. We had some system issues we had to fix. We addressed that with them and we fixed it. And so I think that we're not at the top of the list for them to come back and take a look at," WTVAHCS Director Michael Keifer  said.

Not all of the issues had a fix, like the plea to improve service by getting more help.

"That's our Achilles heel is access, is the people," Keifer said. He added that they have picked up three nurse practitioners, with another one on the way, and also contracted with 2 providers, who will eventually join the team within the next 6 to 8 weeks.

Teresa Galloway, who's spouse is a veteran wasn't convinced that's good enough.

"It sounds like they're working on it, but it sounds like they may have even longer delays. And until I see results, I'm not gonna change my opinion. Our veterans have got to be taken care of better," she said.

But mostly the crowd felt optimistic. Vietnam Veteran Steve Purdy said it was even reassuring, because "it's hard to talk to the upper crust here at the VA, they're so busy. So we get just a trickle down effect," he explained. "But this set the things straight for me and I think everyone in the room, that they are really trying their best."  

"We're realists we know we can never do what we'd like to do. We're doing what we can with the resources we have and we're trying to grow."Keifer said.