VA shake-up: local veterans weigh in on their future

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Marvin Fletcher, 89, hopes that Eric Shinseki’s resignation is just the first of many changes coming to the VA. 

Fletcher said he had eye surgery last year and since then has not been able to obtain a working pair of eye glasses from VA doctors based at the West Palm Beach facility.

He said that all he wants is a pair of glasses that works. “Put them on and I can’t see,” he said of the current glasses, which he does not feel are effective.

Still, Fletcher knows that his frustrations are small in comparison to some of the disturbing allegations against the national VA right now. “We don’t deserve it; not these men that have been through hell,” said Fletcher. “They deserve good care.”

A spokesperson for the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center said that the facility has been inundated with requests from aging veterans wanting proper eye care.

Fletcher said he is hopeful that the change at the top of the VA will trickle down. “We’re starting in the right direction,” he said. “If we’re going to get there, I don’t know.”

A local VA spokesperson said someone should be contacting Fletcher within the next few days to hopefully offer him the help he said he needs. Despite leadership changes in Washington, D.C., local VA officials say the mission to provide quality care to veterans remains the same.

A written statement released from the Mary Ann Goodman, spokesperson at the West Palm Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Center is below:

​The West Palm Beach VA Medical Center takes any allegations about patient care or employee misconduct very seriously. This Department’s most important mission is to make sure Veterans know VA is here to care for them - to provide the high quality care they have earned and deserve.

Veterans must feel safe walking into our VA facilities, and VA employees must work continuously to provide them with the highest quality care. That is our standard - Veterans deserve to have full faith in their VA care.

Where we have failed to meet those commitments, we will redouble our efforts to deliver timely care to patients with compassion and integrity.  We will identify problems and resolve these issues expediently.  Together with VSOs, Congress and all VA stakeholders, we will act with the best interests of Veterans at heart.  As was made clear this morning, VA is taking concrete steps towards that end -including initiation of accountability for senior leadership and elimination of performance awards for senior VHA leaders for Fiscal Year 2014.

Regardless of leadership changes, the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center will remain focused on our mission of continuing to provide high quality health care to our Veterans.