I would like to respond to the View from Away editorial about the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA should give vets more choices,” Chicago Tribune, May 8).

First off, we do not need more privatization. While the system does have problems, as any institution its size would, the answer is not privatization, but to fix the system. To send us outside rather than fixing it is another classic case of sweeping the problem under the rug. It will only lower our service until it is unsupportable. There are times when we must be sent outside for care, and with pre-approval it works. I am doing this right now for physical therapy because of scheduling and staffing constraints. But we have a unique and caring community here at VA Togus.

The major problems in the system are lack of funding, staffing and in some places antiquated facilities.

The president should appoint a qualified leader to the VA, not a political insider who has no knowledge of the system, its problems or its mission. Even though not all served in combat, we did all sign a blank check to America for any cost, even our lives if necessary. I would suggest for a leader one of the directors of one of the 23 Veterans Integrated Service Networks that the VA is divide into. These people take of an entire area, such as all of New England and its multiple hospitals, clinics and staff. This person would have the experience of administration, problems and mission. This person would be able to hit the ground running. Fix the system, do not slowly throw it away by neglect and incompetence.

I am a veteran and have been a VA patient for many years at four different hospitals and have always been treated with the utmost care.

James Wood

Augusta


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