Leaders are hoping a new medical unit in the Jackson VA Medical Center will help provide better care to Mississippi veterans. As MPB's Alexis Ware reports, the renovations are among other initiatives to improve the VA's troubled reputation.
Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center is now home to an updated medical intensive care unit. The unit has ten private rooms and will allow patients to receive bedside dialysis care. The VA has faced criticism in previous years over its inability to treat veterans effectively and timely.
Medical Center Director David Walker says one frequent complaint is how long it takes to receive care. He says as part of improvement efforts, patients now have access to a website that allows them to see wait times at VA facilities across the state.
"I need to continue to hire more primary care docs. The wait times arelonger than I would like. The other day I looked for a urology appointment it was like 21 days, and so it's our way of showing transparency of how we're doing in a meaningful way."
James Wiley is a veteran and patient at the VA clinic. He says he has only ever had good experiences at the medical center, but he says many patient complaints could be resolved through mutual respect.
"Continue to encourage them to improve personnel to veteran relationships and understand that we're the ones who went to war and we're the ones who came home and we need understanding. So, it's a two-way street."
The new intensive care unit is scheduled to open in two weeks.