Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Letters to the Editor

June 20, 2014

Mercer VA clinic is one of the best

— — Fellow veterans and all concerned citizens: First of all I want to thank you for your support, and all that you are doing for veterans. As most of you know that is where my heart is, no doubt about it. ,I have been putting off writing for a few weeks now, but I cannot take it any longer. I am talking about the mess that is going on at some of the VA hospitals.

First I must say that of the 150 hospitals and the 820 clinics, we here in Mercer County have one of the best. There are four medical centers here in this state that we love so much, and we have 10 clinics. It does bring a smile to my face when I hear veterans speak about the outstanding service they receive from the staff here. I have witnessed the kindness myself.

Now getting back to the various things that are going on at some of these hospitals across the nation, the senate is working on a bill that gives the VA administration the authority to fire as many as 450 senior regional executives and hospital administrators for poor performance. As of this letter, Veterans Affairs supervisors have retaliated against 37 employees who filed whistleblower complaints. I wonder why? I am sure none of this has happened in our VA facilities. This bill also states that if you live 40 miles or more from a hospital and have been waiting more 30 days, you will be allowed to seek care from private doctors.

Now the good news for the veterans of this area is this bill also authorizes the VA to lease 26 new health facilities in 18 states and provides $500 million to hire more doctors and nurses. So the time is right for our area — believe me I am going to fight for some of that. So veterans, please stand up and speak up and put our politicians to work. Big changes are coming, and when I meet my fellow veterans on the other side I want to tell them that I was part of it. What about you? Remember, do nothing, get nothing.

Al Hancock, USAF Ret.

Bluefield

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