VA facilities to hold town hall meetings

Posted: August 23, 2014

Philadelphia's Veterans Affairs benefits office will host two town hall events Wednesday for local veterans to voice feedback about the quality of their service.

The meetings, among a series being held around the country, come as the city's VA health and benefits systems are facing separate investigations into data manipulation.

At the benefits office on Wissahickon Avenue in Germantown, where Wednesday's events will be held, whistleblowers have accused administrators of encouraging employees to change dates on old claims to make them appear new.

Across town at the VA Medical Center in University City, an internal audit found that appointment schedulers were encouraged to enter dates other than the ones patients had requested, one method of hiding delays.

The hospital will also host a town hall meeting, though a date has not been scheduled, according to Ramona Joyce, a spokeswoman for the VA in Washington. Joyce declined to provide further details about Wednesday's events, saying the office would do so soon.

The meetings will also be open to veterans' family members, veterans service organizations, and other stakeholders. Staff will be on hand to help veterans who have questions about their claims, according to a letter sent to employees of the center.

Newly installed VA Secretary Robert McDonald on Aug. 5 ordered all hospitals and benefits offices to host town hall meetings, saying in a statement that as the agency seeks to "rebuild trust" lost from the national scandal over delayed care, "it is critical that we continue to listen and learn directly from those who use our system."


tnadolny@phillynews.com

610-313-8205

@TriciaNadolny

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