Veterans Affairs working to improve health care by creating open - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Veterans Affairs working to improve health care by creating open dialogue

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(KWWL) -

Veterans in the Cedar Valley had the opportunity to sit face to face, and work to solve challenges, with the Iowa City Veterans Association in Waterloo. A common thread among veterans was a concern over the lack of communication on how they can get the care they deserve. 

The VA identified improving communication as a challenge they're working to fix.

Vietnam War veteran Lynn Lovell is just one of many veterans in Eastern Iowa who relies on VA healthcare. As a Vietnam War veteran his biggest concern is agent orange.

"There was this gap of time where there was virtually no information, so I watch it kind of close because I would like to live a few more years," said Lovell. 

Lovell came to the meeting looking for answers, along with the other veterans in the room. 

Some expressed concerns over lengthy wait times. 

"You're going to run into a bunch of problems right off the bat," said Kenneth Lawson. "Because you got to have a doctor to sign for it. It took me three weeks just to see a doctor here in Waterloo."

The VA addressed veteran concerns saying they're working on communication between providers to make their health care a smoother process.

Staffers from Senators Ernst, Grassley and Congressman Blum's offices were also there advocating for their veterans. 

"They might not be able to get into the pain clinic for example for another 30 days," said a staffer for Senator Ernst. "Well what are they supposed to do in the meantime? Obviously, nobody wants them to be in pain."

The VA also informed veterans on services offered through the VA, including an alternative to highly addictive opioid drugs that many veterans get hooked on. Instead, the VA offers pain management services like acupuncture and physical therapy. 

Town hall meetings help create the open dialogue that's helped the VA improve their care to veterans.

The VA says they're still investigating the death of veteran Brandon Ketchum who committed suicide after he was turned away from the Iowa City VA. The VA hopes to have clear answers by this spring. 

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