Veterans express concerns at VA roundtable led by Senator Ernst - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Veterans express concerns at VA roundtable led by Senator Ernst

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Veterans from across the state expressed their concerns and frustrations at a VA roundtable led by Senator Joni Ernst today in Cedar Falls. Korean War veteran Sid Morris and Black Hawk County VA director Kevin Dill were also a part of the roundtable.

Veterans spoke out on several  issues and complaints with The US Department of VA. Many focused on the lack of health care and the Veterans Choice Program.

Senator Joni Ernst says, "I would like to say that I was surprised, but unfortunately we are hearing the same things from veterans all over the state of Iowa."

This roundtable comes as the VA is investigating Iowa veteran, Sgt. Ketchum's death. Sgt. Ketchum killed himself after being denied from the VA office in Iowa City. Ernst says the number of veterans who kill themselves everyday is concerning.

Ernst says, "Nothing will ever bring him (Ketchum) back, but what we need to do is look forward and find a way to correct this epidemic."

When KWWL asked Ernst about what needs to be done for our veterans, she replied, "We have to reach out to our local partners, our state partners and work together, whether it's peer-on-peer or mental health groups, we have to provide that..we have to do that."

The VA is investigating Ketchum's case. Ernst, Chuck Grassley, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin sent a letter to the VA seeking policy changes.

Ernst says, "An investigation is not the answer. The answer is when we find out what could have been done differently and we implement that strategy for our veterans."

Dill and Ernst say the VA needs to remember that they exist for the veterans and the problems start at the top. Ernst says VA Secretary Robert McDonald needs to go and many veterans at the forum today agreed.

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