Local Veterans Share VA Experiences With American Legion Leaders
ST. AUGUSTA -- Area veterans met with leaders from the American Legion headquarters Tuesday night at Post 621 in St. Augusta to discuss the positives and negatives experienced at the St. Cloud VA.
"We'll see what comes out, I'm sure there are veterans with issues out there with the hospital or maybe with VA in general," says Barry Venable of the St. Cloud VA.
"We're here to listen to them and take whatever feedback we can get to improve the operations at the St. Cloud VA."
The group of leaders from the American Legion, called The System Worth Saving Task Force, held an open forum for veterans around the St. Cloud area. The task force visits roughly 20 VAs around the country each year and was last in St. Cloud in 2012.
"We host these town hall meetings to bring the veterans together to share their experiences [at the VA]," says Roscoe Butler, Deputy Director of Health Care for the American Legion Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Butler says they then take what they learn from the meeting and meet with hospital leaders over the course of two days to see what improvements may need to be made.
"It's not always bad -- it's learning about whether they have any best practices we can share with other VAs as we go out on our site visits," Butler says. "One of the things we can do that the VA can't do [is] we can go directly to Congress and petition for more money, staff and resources."
The St. Cloud VA was under some scrutiny earlier this year when an investigation that found problems in the work environment was kept under wraps.