Veterans in Arkansas gathered Tuesday to express their frustration with a health care system designed just for them, but is letting so many down.
Now on the state and federal level,there is a push to right some of those wrongs--here spearheaded by Arkansas vets in need, and supported by the Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care System.
"I had 2 strokes. I have migraine headaches from bombs, missiles and explosions," said one veteran fighting for better care.
Colonel Mike Ross who lead the Arkansas National Guards 89th Infantry Brigade in Iraq sees the need from a front row seat.
"I served in combat with 4500 soldiers. We lost 33. 3300 had combat wounds; we lost 5 to suicide," said Col. Ross.
Another vet added, "Some of these soldiers are in pain and they are cutting pain medications in half."
With these sorts of issues being raised, the need for better care is glaring.
"I see them every day. They are fighting for VA benefits because of the backlog. We have to understand, we broke these soldiers, we have a responsibility to fix them," said Col. Ross.
No one held back at the town hall style gathering. Vets were able to voice their concerns face to face with the people running the Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care System.
Complaints ranged from benefits being cut, not being seen, to a lack of respect or concern some staff seem to have towards veterans.
"If they are out there for a job and not to take care of vets, they need to go home," Ross said.
Clearly a barrage of what's not working was fired off, but some in attendance agree there is plenty that is working.
"They do a lot of good for us. I would be dead. I attempted suicide, without the mental health program I would not be here."
The Central Arkansas VA Health Care System said thanks to these vets, they have a better picture of what needs fixing.
"We'll take all that feedback and those suggestions and issues and try to improve our healthcare. That is what we want to do, improve the system and deliver the best healthcare we can to veterans because they deserve it," said Mile Brown with the Central Arkansas VA Health Care System.
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