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West Texas VA Needs Further Audit

A national review of all the Veterans Affairs hospitals in the nation found that the West Texas location still needs an extra review to determine the scheduling and access management practices of the hospital.
A national review of all the Veterans Affairs hospitals in the nation found that the West Texas location still needs an extra review to determine the scheduling and access management practices of the hospital.

“The auditors when they left they did not indicate that we had a real problem,” said Iva Jo Hanslik, Community Relations Coordinator at the West Texas VA Health Care System.

But so far, the VA, located in Big Spring doesn't have the green light.

“Retaining staff is our biggest challenge today,” Hanslik said. “The workforce isn't here, they're moving to the oil field, where the money is.”

The national audit showed that more than 57,000 veterans have been waiting 90 days or more for their first VA medical appointments. And it also happens locally.

“Two and a half months. Two and a half months trying to get through to him and had two cancellations during that time, 2 appointments set up on the telephone and nobody even called to cancel,” said veteran David A. Weseloh.

The West Texas location currently serves 17,000 veterans. In addition to their main location in Big Spring, they have clinics in Abilene, Odessa, Hobbs, Fort Stockton, Stamford and San Angelo.

“If there are vets out there not getting the care that they so deserve I would encourage them to get in touch with us,” Hanslik said.

And not all West Texas vets are unhappy.

“I've been coming here since 78 and I've never had no problem,” said Veteran Sam Powell.

Weseloh is still skeptical about the local VA, but he does not think it should be completely shut down.

“I don’t think we should get rid of it I think we ought to make some changes,” Weseloh said.

And the VA says that they will overcome the criticism.

“We're going to get through it and I have no doubt we will,” Hanslik said.

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