American Legion Holds Town Hall Meeting In Phoenix

May 14, 2014

(Photo by Carrie Jung - KJZZ)
Air Force veteran Richard French says he's suffered through long wait times at several VA medical systems.
(Photo by Carrie Jung - KJZZ)
More than 200 people attended the town hall meeting organized by the American Legion.
(Photo by Carrie Jung - KJZZ)
Dr. Katherine Mitchell, a Phoenix VA whistle blower, stands in line for her turn to take the microphone.

The American Legion held a town hall meeting in Phoenix Tuesday night to address concerns of mismanagement at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. More than 200 people attended the event.

The meeting began at 7 p.m. sharp. It was scheduled to last just an hour, but extended well beyond 10 p.m.

Those who took the microphone shared a laundry list of complaints, including long wait times, prescription mix-ups and misdiagnoses.

Richard French, a retired Air Force veteran, believes the mismanagement goes far beyond the Valley. His wife spoke on his behalf.

"It’s not only the VA hospital in Phoenix. It’s in California, it’s in Nevada," said French. "You have to wait months to get an appointment and it just seems so unfair that after all they’ve been through that they have to wait so long to get items taken care of."

Congressional staff were also in attendance. American Legion Post 41 commander Richard Lucero says he’s pleased with the level of attention the issue is receiving in Washington.

"I think they’re generally concerned with what’s going on. We have a new VA Director, Steve Young. The people from Washington are here also. Our national commander is here," Lucero said. "They’re not going to let this go. The American legion will not let this go."

Allegations of delays in care and fraudulent wait time records at the Phoenix VA medical center are being investigated. The American Legion has been a vocal critic of the VA medical system since the scandal emerged.