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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Veterans discuss quality of VA care

  • The criminal investigation surrounding the Veterans Affairs facility in Phoenix raises a question – are veterans everywhere receiving the quality care that they deserve?
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  • The criminal investigation surrounding the Veterans Affairs facility in Phoenix raises a question – are veterans everywhere receiving the quality care that they deserve?
     
    Tom Smith from Shawnee, a veteran who served 10 years in the Marines, has had a mostly positive experience with the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center.
     
    Smith said his biggest problem is that patients don’t get enough time with the doctors. Appointments are limited to 20 minutes.
     
    “What can you do in 20 minutes?” he said. “That’s not even enough time to eat a Big Mac hamburger.”
     
    Smith has had several procedures, including two knee replacements, with the facility and has volunteered there for 20 years.
     
    “I’m not finding any great fault with our hospital,” he said. “If I have an inpatient (procedure) in there, I know I can call at 1 am for a glass of water and I know I’ll get it. 90 percent of people you’ll talk to will tell you it’s a good outfit.”
     
    Joel Carmichael, a local veteran who served two years in the Air Force, said he is exceptionally happy with the care he receives.
     
    “I had to wait a month or so before I got back in the system,” he said. “I was out of the system for 13 years because I didn’t feel worthy or like I had done enough to even warrant being cared for.”
     
    Carmichael said that once he was back in the system, he didn’t have to wait long for appointments.
     
    “It’s the same old thing of hurry up and wait with the military,” Carmichael said. “That’s kind of the byline with any military service. You just have to be patient. You put a smile on your face and you thank the people.”
     
    Carmichael has had several major procedures done and said the hospital saved him from colon cancer.
     
    “On a personal level, I have no qualms at all with the service the VA hospital in Oklahoma City has given me,” he said.
     
    C. Riggs, another local vet who served in the Army for 21 years, has equally positive opinions on the hospital. He is legally blind in both eyes and has received help for his condition.
     
    Page 2 of 2 - “They have a really good coordinator over there,” he said. “They got me a magnifying machine so I could read and a watch that I can see. They’ve been very helpful.”
     

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