August 28, 2014

Veterans Offer Praise, Raise Concerns About Roudebush

Veterans Offer Praise, Raise Concerns About Roudebush

Veterans' centers across the country have come under fire this year for having long wait times.  The Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis is no different, with reports of it taking up to 45 days for new patients to see a doctor.

Wednesday, veterans from across the state came to discuss their experiences at the local VA center.

Coast Guard veteran Kent Morgan credits the facility with saving his life.

"I was going blind in my left eye, they found it right away.  I'm not blind in my left eye.  They found that I had hearing loss, I didn't even ask for it.  I had my claim done on a quick track because I had other prior claims," said Morgan.  "Any hospital you go to is going to have issues...but, I'll tell you personally, I'd come here in a flash."

But, others are not so impressed.

Some in the crowd accused the staff of being rude, inefficient, and even racists.  Jim Naff spent 26 years in the U.S. Army.  He says Roudeboush fails to provide quality customer service for those who served the country.

"This facility does not have any kind of accountability system," he said.  "This has occured to me several times.  I have had the people in their patient response center hang up on me numerous times because I refused to discuss my medical condition and need for service with them."

Roudebush Director Tom Mattice acknowledges the medical center has areas where it can improve and says it will take the feedback from Wednesday to make changes.

"What were the processes they talked about? What were the systems they talked about? And can we make those better," Mattice said of Roudebush's goals.  "A lot of them we know about and are working on and there are a couple of new things that we didn't know about, so that's why we hold these kinds of sessions is to make sure we are in tune with where are veterans are and what they think we should be doing for their hospital."

At its worst, Roudebush patients were waiting 45 days for a primary care appointment.  Mattice says because of additional federal funding, new patients can now get an appointment the next day.

Mattice vows to have more discussions with veterans in the future.

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