Letters to the Editor

Administration to blame for VA frustrations

The "Veterans vent frustrations at Gulf Coast VA director" (April 27) article was spot on.

The medical staff is outstanding and has been for the past 15 years, but the administrative staff leaders leave a lot to be desired.

I criticize and provide direct proof: Meeting with Anthony Dawson, the VA director, is an impossible task for the average vet. After several tries on my own, I contacted our congressman, and he was finally able to arrange a meeting with Dawson for me, which was short and indifferent.

Dawson said he'd contact me to discuss recommendations when his staff met, but I'm still waiting -- after more than two years.

That same day, Dawson did put me in touch with Randy McGee, the patient advocate leader, who gave me two other names and phone numbers. When I had a problem getting an appointment, I called all three numbers, and I'm still waiting for a return call -- after more than a year.

The administrative problem is long and continuing, and the appointment process is a disaster. The clerks waste so much time calling on the phone when there is a much better method, which I discussed with Dawson to no avail.

The non-medical staff lacks leadership. The bright new building that masks the underlying problems is great but doesn't help the real issues.

Once a vet gets past the administrative problems, the efficiency of the medical teams, doctors and pharmacy is great.

The problem with the VA is not patient care; it's the administrative nightmare taking too much time and effort going in circles. New leadership is what the VA needs.

WALTER LEOPOLD

Gulfport

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