WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It was a full house at the Robert J. Dole VA hospital auditorium on Thursday afternoon as hospital staff hosted a town hall to hear out veteran’s concerns and questions regarding their care.
The town hall was intended to clarify any questions from veterans as well as connect them to resources for their unique healthcare situation.
“I think most veterans would agree, once your service is over, you’re not needed. I hate to say it, it’s almost like you’re treated as a second class citizen,” Vietnam veteran Larry Mac Intire from Natoma said.
Mac Intire or “Mac” as they call him, serves as president of the Vietnam Veterans of America post in Hays. He brought “grievances” from his post about the VA choice program, which allows veterans to receive care in their community instead of waiting to get in to a VA hospital or driving a great distance to a VA hospital.
Mac is able to receive care at the Hays clinic as he lives 43 miles northeast of Hays, but other veterans in his post who live in Hays have to drive all the way in to Wichita for care.
Like other veterans, Mac submitted questions on question cards passed out to those in attendance so he could clarify information and get it back to his post.
“I hope they leave here feeling like we listened to them. That’s one of the reasons we hold a town hall. We want to know what’s on their mind so we can do a better job,” Rob Cain, public affairs director for the VA hospital said.
Cain served as emcee for the event, fielding questions and introducing guest speakers. Around two dozen hospital specialists sat around the perimeter of the room so veterans could connect directly professionals in areas like audiology, social work and behavioral health.