Veterans advocates praise Providence VA Medical Center
The national scandal dogging the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs continues to cause the Obama administration to try to fix overly long wait times at VA hospitals around the country.
But according to two people who deal with veterans, the Providence VA Medical Center is doing an excellent job.
Thousands of veterans use the Providence VA Medical Center.
Dr. Hub Brennan said many of his private patients are also clients.
"We have many patients in the office here who utilize both," Brennan said.
He told NBC 10 News that the experience his patients get at the medical center is nearly without exception, positive.
"Over time they have done a very, very good job of caring for their patients. We're not hearing locally of the concerns that we're hearing nationally. The access is good. The timeliness is good. Compassionate care is good. We get very few complaints if at all from our local VA. They seem to be doing a very good job," Brennan said.
Operation Stand Down serves veterans who have found themselves in need of help. Many of them are troubled and have to use the VA hospital.
Erik Wallin, the director of Operation Stand Down, said his clients feel the center treats them well.
"Our experience is that the Providence VA Medical Center is providing a very high level of care in a very timely manner," Wallin said.
He said there are high demands on the hospital, which serves all of Rhode Island and more.
"We have over 70,000 veterans in the state of Rhode Island, so the demands on the VA Medical Center in Providence, which also services some areas of Massachusetts, are high, but the efficiency of it is very good and the delivery of care seems to be at a very high level," Wallin said.
He said the hospital has stayed up to date and is current with the latest crop of warriors.
"The hospital has done well at targeting the new needs of this new generation of veterans. They have specialty clinics that deal with veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, as well as those people that deal with the kind of clients that we deal with Operation Stand Down -- those who have ended up homeless," Wallin said.
The Providence VA Medical Center has a director who has been there less than a year, having previously served in the Boston center.
Dr. Susan MacKenzie was not available for an interview Friday, but we have heard nothing but praise for her work so far.