Veterans discuss care at town hall meeting

INDIANAPOLIS - Local veterans took their concerns straight to the CEO of the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon.

A town hall meeting was held in Indianapolis one day after the Office of the Inspector General released a report finding chronic delays for veterans seeking care in Phoenix.

The 143-page report centers around findings at the Phoenix VA hospital. Government investigators found that inappropriate scheduling practices were a nationwide systematic problem.

On Wednesday, the director of the Roudebush VA Medical Center held the town hall meeting to find out how the local facility can improve its care.

A few dozen local veterans packed into the room to share their concerns, complaints and compliments on care.

Roudebush treats 61,000 patients a year. The average wait time from phone call to appointment for new patients is 23 days.

"I don't know if I can come here if I've got a terminal disease because if I can't get a tooth fixed, now I'm finally getting in, and to go in it takes a month to get a scheduled appointment," veteran David Lindauer said. 

"I care and you're going to see when you have a chance to talk to our clinical staff that they really do care. They're here for our veterans, they're here for you," said Roudebush medical director Thomas Mattice.

Other veterans voiced concerns about what they see as inadequate mental health care and rude staff.

Mattice said care is patient-driven and a quarter of the employees are veterans themselves. He said Roudebush has specialized programs for both female and homeless veterans.

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