Local veterans file complaints against East Tennessee VA facilit

Local veterans file complaints against East Tennessee VA facilities

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"I would say that the administration at Mountain Home has created an attitude and philosophy that hinders veterans from getting services," said veteran Frank Vollmer. "I would say that the administration at Mountain Home has created an attitude and philosophy that hinders veterans from getting services," said veteran Frank Vollmer.
By WHITNEY GOOD
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A group of East Tennessee veterans is taking action to stop problems at area VA facilities. Across the country VA hospitals have been under scrutiny for long wait times. It has been an issue here as well.

The VA hospital in upper East Tennessee came in at number nine on the list of VA facilities with the longest delays for care.


Previous story: Mountain Home, other Tenn. VA facilities among longest for wait times

Some veterans claim the issues are even bigger with some clinics not following their own orders.

"I would say that the administration at Mountain Home has created an attitude and philosophy that hinders veterans from getting services," said veteran Frank Vollmer.

A local group of veterans say the problems have forced them to take treatment into their own hands, forming the Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Counsel.

Their list of issues with the local VA facilities is long, but boils down to what they say is a lack of care, specifically not enough treatment for patients suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"I think the people that are there now have an attitude that even if they make them do it, it's not going to be done right. They need people in there that feel like they want to serve the veteran," said veteran Howard Jenkins.

The group has filed complaints with Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and Congressman Jimmy Duncan along with the Office of Inspector General claiming that Mountain Home VA hospital in Johnson City and a recently opened clinic in Knoxville run by Mountain Home are not following VA directives--not giving enough care to patients with PTSD.

Saying the issues point to "an agency that does more harm than good under current leadership."

"I think in order to be a top administrator in the VA you first of all must be a veteran. It's like us with PTSD. We can talk to people with PTSD because we know what the problem is," said Jenkins.

Now they say they have to offer their own counseling services to veterans and are not getting any help from the VA with creating new programs and services to help those patients.

"Those sacrifices that we've gone through to get to where we are is not nowhere near the treatment that we're getting in the VA facility today," said veteran Fred Owens.

We contacted Mountain Home VA hospital for a statement but have not heard back yet.

The Office of Inspector General says they are looking into the claims.

The FBI said last week it has opened a criminal investigation into the Department of Veterans Affairs in light of the national accusations.

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