Local VA Hospital's New Center

By Jim Madalinsky

Published 06/02 2014 05:43PM

Updated 06/02 2014 06:09PM

ALTOONA - The James Van Zandt VA Center in Altoona says the national reports have been concerning, but they're confident they are providing quality care as quickly as possible to all local veterans in need.
The VA Center provides service to more than 87,000 veterans in the region.
They've been following the national VA care scandal closely.
They say they review any backlogs and waiting lists here everyday.
“It can be a little disheartening for employees when all of these things are being talked about but I can tell you every employee in Johnstown and throughout our network are very committed to treating veterans,” Public Affairs Officer Andrea Young says.
The Van Zandt Medical Center, like all VA hospitals was audited a few weeks back. Those results haven't been released yet, but Andrea Young says the feedback has been positive.
“Our goal is to get a veteran into care, a new veteran or an established veteran, to get them into an appointment within two weeks of the date that they wish to come in,” Young says.
A new facility is helping in that process.
The outpatient center in Johnstown opened last month and provides new treatments for veterans in the area.
It cuts down on travel time using programs like Telehealth where veterans talk directly to doctors via webcam.
“We can have them just come here to the clinic and a lot of their care can be provided through Telehealth,” Young says.
Congressmen Glenn Thompson says he doesn't expect the scandal to have an impact locally.
“When you think about Los Angeles, Phoenix, just massive sized hospital, the layers of bureaucracy and a little corruption at the top,” Rep. Thompson (R, 5th District) says.
And Thompson says the connection between the center and the veterans around here makes the difference.
“I think they're small enough that they know their veterans and they know their veterans family so we can take great pride in the quality that they provide,” Rep. Thompson says.
A number of local legislators have gotten behind a few federal bills recently that would call for more accountability from the VA Hospitals.

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