Local VA care compares favorably to national average
The head of the Buffalo VA hospital says things are getting better but there is a ways to go. The veterans agency has been under siege for a while, to the point where its cabinet secretary quit and the new secretary says he has a purge list of top executives. Across the country, there have been serious problems in some hospitals.
The small turnout at a Town Hall event Thursday nigh suggests there aren't big problems here, with Medical Center Director Brian Stiller says big changes are underway, from structural renovations to make the Bailey Avenue building work better to millions of dollars of purchases of outside health care.
Navy veteran Stiller says he knows of those problems personally.
"I needed to see a specialist and our only specialist that we had left us. And so, I was one of the greater than 30 days veterans. And, I kept saying, no, let everybody go ahead and everybody kept saying you're an idiot because you're making our numbers look bad," Stiller said.
Those numbers reflect how quickly a veteran sees a hospital staffer, with 90 percent seen within 30 days, a rate that compares favorably to the national average. Stiller says his hospital is on track to spend $22 million this year for purchase of outside health care, up from $18 million last year.
He says some of that will be cut when an already-purchased MRI scanner is finally delivered and installed.