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Acting VA Secretary Promising Big Changes At Jackson Vets Hospital

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 12 Jul 2014 01:37pm | comments
Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson
The acting secretary of the veterans administration says new data out this week will show improved wait times at the G-V Sonny Montgomery hospital in Jackson. But for many veterans, and even staff at the hospital, it could be too little too late. 
Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson toured the facility and promised that relief is on the way to ease the long wait times many veterans say they experience.
"They have been using over time and adding evening and weekend clinics. They are using temporary staffin measure to be able to speed care. And we have allocated an additional  four million dollars to the medical center specifically to help them with these efforts to accelerate care," Gibson said.
But for a group of veterans outside the hospital, the visit appears like little more than window dressing on what they consider endemic problems. 
Desert Storm veteran Corey Moore says he has had to file multiple claims and wait three months or more to be seen.
"At the same time I am going without. We serve our country and we come back to this right here. And these civilians have no sense of the military and they act like they are in charge. They act like it is their money. It is our money. We earned that," Moore said.
Prior to the visit, nurses who asked that they not be recorded, said they feel like they are working in a 'sweat shop' where the demands of administration are impossible to meet.
Hospital leaders say they are working to hire 21 more full time staff to meet the demands and that performance bonuses for senior administrators have been suspended
Secretary Gibson says the troubles represent a golden opportunity to improve the system, even if new numbers this week show positive steps.
"It doesn't mean that I am not going to be watching these guys like a hawk. Wait times coming down. More veterans getting in to see their doctors. Continued improvement in care quality. Consistent improvement in care quality," Gibson said.
Gibson is also promising to completely clear the disability claims back log by next year.


Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson



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