Lansing VA to be Investigated

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VA facilities in Lansing, Ann Arbor and Muskegon will undergo further investigation, after being flagged by the national Department of Veterans Affairs.

"We wanted to make sure that we were being absolutely transparent with this and the only way to do that is to analyze every facility within our delivery system," said Damian McGee, a spokesman half of the VA facilities in Michigan, "In no way does that condemn neither the service nor the staff that is provided there. It simply says that there will be things that need to be looked at."

The three facilities flagged for review stuck out after the VA's initial sweep of 731 separate points of access and more than 3,772 interviews of clinical and administrative staff, according to the VA audit.

McGee says he does not know when the audits will take place or how they will be conducted. The VA just needs a closer look, he said, and will try to determine places that need improvements or corrections.

The special distinction should not discourage people from seeking care, McGee said.

"I think the people sitting at home can be comfortable and be confident in the care they're being provided," he said. "This is just an opportunity for the VA to look at our system and where we need to get better, where we need to make changes and where we need to grow. When this is all said and done, the veteran will obviously be the winner."

But Eric Calley says his fellow veterans have been losing for a long time.

"I think the care isn't excellent right now and so that's falsely misconstrued," he said. "I think that the healthcare that they provide could be a lot better."

Calley, who said he "wasn't surprised one bit" that Lansing had been flagged, helps veterans transition back to civilian life once they return. He was so dissatisfied with the care he received, that he sought services at a facility in Battle Creek -- after a two year wait.

He says Lansing's outpatient clinic has to outsource the big procedures and he's frustrated he doesn't get to choose his doctor.

"This audit is proof of somebody getting caught," he said. "And unfortunately there's probably a lot of places that didn't get caught. But this is the starting light of it."

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