IL congressman met with VA staff, patients in Marion - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

IL congressman met with VA staff, patients in Marion

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MARION, IL (KFVS) -

Illinois Congressman Bill Enyart addressed the growing scandal at VA clinics across the nation on Thursday by visiting with veterans in Marion, Illinois.

There are dozens of Illinois veterans who have gone months without receiving care, some of which came here to the Marion VA. But after a meeting with patients and administrators on Thursday, it's not due to a secret wait list to schedule patients as seen in places like Kansas.

Congressman Enyart spoke to patients without the supervision of administrators to find out why some of them had to wait up to three months to receive care.

What was uncovered is that the national standard of wait time for specialty care is 14 days, Marion's average is 19 days.

The VA looked is looking to hire more than 200 staff members including medical doctors and registered nurses.

According to the staff Congressman Enyart talked to, it's difficult for the VA to recruit new doctors because the facility is located in a relatively rural area; and most graduates look to find work in larger cities.

He said he has a plan he will bring to Washington in order to draw more younger professionals to the area. It includes a student loan repayment program.

The current recruiting target for doctors at the facility are older doctors who are getting ready to retire, leave their practices and wanting to go on to a payroll. What the VA needs is younger grads who know more about technology.

After the press conference, we talked to a few patients leaving from their appointments. Many of them did point out that they've had to wait several hours before they receive care, or that they couldn't be treated that day because a certain doctor wasn't there at the time.

Congress Enyart said he will work to fix these problems.

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