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Texoma Vets Ask Questions to OKC VA Medical Center Officials

For the second day, Oklahoma VA officials were in Texoma in the wake of the VA scandal that started in Phoenix.
For the second day, Oklahoma VA officials were in Texoma in the wake of the VA scandal that started in Phoenix.  Wednesday, officials were at the Fort Sill VA Outpatient Clinic and Thursday they were in Wichita Falls.

Voices raised when questions centered on long telephone wait times veterans say they endured when calling the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center.

One vet said his wait time was six minutes before he was disconnected and another chimed in with a wait time of two hours before he was finally connected to the department he needed.

But overall, today's meeting was fairly low key and informative. Four officials from the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center sat before Texoma veterans who fired questions about when problems would be fixed and complaints.

From communication issues to parking issues at the Oklahoma City center, the panel did their best to answer them all. This panel also informed vets about an audit of their operations, which included an average wait time of 30 days for an appointment.

However, lawmakers recently took steps to help them.

"We passed a bill in the House this week unanimously that enabled vets who can't get seen in a certain amount of time to go to a doctor outside the VA system so they don't have to wait any more and it also applies to vets who live more than 40 miles from a VA treatment facility," says Rep. Mac Thornberry.

Unfortunately, the Oklahoma City VA's top official says that legislation causes concern.

"What it doesn't tell me is how are we gonna tie that care into the veterans electronic health records the VA has cause the veterans will be coming back to see us," says Daniel Marsh, director of Oklahoma City VA Medical Center.

This meeting lasted more than an hour and overall, many veterans say it was helpful.

"It gave me a lot of information and it gave me some information to pass on to the fellow veterans I know," says Lyonel Lewis, a retired Air Force veteran.

Vets also say instead of getting the run-around when they call the center, they were happy to get their questions answered in person from top Oklahoma VA officials.
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