Marion VA holds town hall meeting - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Marion VA holds town hall meeting

MARION, IL (KFVS) -

The VA system nationwide has taken a lot of criticism this year, but officials at the Marion VA are taking a step to create an open forum for veterans to bring their concerns straight to the authorities.

The VA hospital in Marion held a town hall meeting Monday.

After it was exposed that long wait times at V.A. Hospitals across the country caused several deaths, the Department of Veterans Affairs promised sweeping changes; one of those changes took place Today in Marion.

One by one, veterans got a chance to voice their opinion.

During the meeting, vets gave VA officials an earful about wait times and other problems within the system.

One veteran patient claimed he had to wait over four hours in the emergency room before seeing a doctor.

Other issues dealt with transportation and communication.

Hospital Director, Donald Hutson blames a lot of the issues around staffing.

But he is optimistic these town hall meetings will help shape plans moving forward.

Other vets say they will believe the changes when they see them.

“For seven years I've heard that they were fixing the problems, for seven years I have watched directors come and go and the problems are still here. I don't know what the answers are, but I know that what they've been doing isn't working,” says one veteran.

The hospital is currently looking at ways to recruit more physicians

There are initiatives underway like a new Mental Health Building, which will be finished next summer and the expansion of the emergency department.

Officials say it's a way to make the VA more transparent and create a new standard for hearing from veterans in a public way.

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