Robert Reams, who served in the Navy during Operation Desert Storm, was one of the dozens of concerned veterans who gathered for the town hall meeting hosted by the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Health Care System.
“I think what it is that we are trying to accomplish, which is the communication gap, you know that we’ve had in recent periods,” Reams said.
One of the main topics of discussion was the Wichita falls VA Clinic moving temporarily to Sheppard Air Force Base this fall.
The new location will be 22,000 square feet compared to 5,000 at the current facility.
“Because right now we’re restricted by rooms,” Oklahoma City VAHCS Director, Wade Vlosich, said. “And if we add more rooms, then we can expand some of the services that we provide.”
But several veterans like Reams are doubtful the additional space will solve any issues.
“I don’t know how its going to fix moving from the small clinic downtown to the bigger clinic if you’re not going to have the help that you need to do so,” Reams said.
Besides mental health and primary care, the new clinic still will not provide other services local veterans often drive out of Texoma to receive, like surgeries and dental care.
“You know it’s kind of inconvenient when you have to take off work to have to drive to Oklahoma City because the clinic here can’t handle it,” Reams said.
Other veterans were frustrated throughout the meeting during several other topics — including the stand-alone clinic veterans were promised here years ago.
But Reams said at least the meeting could be a step in the right direction.
“At least now you’ve got a director that’s willing to stand up and try to answer some questions,” Reams said.
Vlosich said problems with communication is something the VA is definitely trying to correct.
Veterans were also upset with how diabetes care is handled locally, as well as the pharmaceutical process.