Local veterans react to the national VA scandal - KOTA Territory News

Local veterans react to the national VA scandal

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The outrage over VA hospitals has reached a boiling point. Officials are taking heat about a scathing report confirming misconduct and corruption, long waits and more. How veterans in Rapid City and Sturgis feel about these allegations? There are a lot of concerns about the scandal involving VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

These veterans are spending time at the Rapid City VFW talking about various issues. One is the national scandal involving the VA Secretary.
 
"When you have lack of command everything goes to pieces. And our current leader and the people he picks, they are not doing their job. We've got to get rid of somebody," said Chad Jones, a veteran.
 
Veterans over in Sturgis also weigh in.
 
" I don't blame Shinseki. I blame Congress. I mean after all, why don't these local Senators from their own constituencies know about these problems in these hospitals?" said Ernest Cudmore, a veteran.
 
Cudmore says other VA hospitals should follow what Fort Meade is doing.
 
" If they took lessons from this hospital, that problem wouldn't happen," said Cudmore.
 
Others say something positive might come out of this.
 
"I think in the long run, I hope it does make a better system when it is all sorted out," said Bob Kusser, a veteran.
 
Steve DiStasio, the Director of the VA Black Hills Health Care System, says some people have been wondering what's going on.
 
"We've had a few veterans call with questions about what is happening in the system. Can I get the care that I need? But I've had many many more phone calls and emails from veterans who are pleased with the way we do business here at VA Black Hills."
 
They are working with the VA system.
 
"We are obviously part of that large VA system and we are responding to questions from our VA central office about what are our waiting lists like. Do we need additional resources to help take care of veterans?" said DiStasio.
 
While these veterans agree healthcare is great at Fort Meade, they say nationally that might not be the case.
 
"Our veterans should be taken care of, not put on the outskirts," said Mike Mullen, a veteran.

The issues stem from a report confirming misconduct at the Phoenix VA Hospital. The White House says President Obama is waiting for a full investigation before deciding who should be held accountable.

Congresswoman Kristi Noem has joined the calls for Secretary Shinseki to step down. And U.S. Senator John Thune has once again called for a nationwide investigation of all VA medical facilities.

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