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August 26, 2014
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Letter: Roseburg Marine Corps veteran speaks up for local VA service, offers suggestion to fill staffing shortages

Find solutions instead of fault

Although I try as a standard practice to comment on positive performance as often as on negative performance, I’ve been remiss with respect to the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center. An August 10 letter to the editor was a reminder.

I am a U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran of Vietnam (1966 - 1967) and a patient at the Roseburg VA. I’ve found the staff very responsive, professional and thorough. Appointment delays have been typical of other medical practices in the area, with one exception. On two occasions I’ve been seen by VA professional staff on their day off or weekend, to meet my scheduling needs. I haven’t enjoyed such service at non-VA facilities anywhere.

Service at the VA Emergency Department/Urgent Care has been responsive. The wait has been longer than at Mercy, but with Mercy’s 12-minute average wait time, few hospitals nationally can compare.

The VA is a large government organization; personnel quality varies, as it does in other large or non-government organizations. The variance is simply a fact of life; not all members of the work force are top performers.

Finally, I believe the shortage of medical providers is a critical component. The shortage is extreme in rural areas and will become worse as the average age of the population increases.

The 2012 proposal to make Roseburg a training center for health care workers should be pursued as part of the solution. It would provide a tremendous economic development stimulus to the local economy, while helping to satisfy the industry demand for health care workers, including at the VA.

Finding fault is easy. Developing a solution difficult. Let’s take the difficult tack.

Dave Leonard


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The News-Review Updated Sep 4, 2014 01:22PM Published Aug 26, 2014 03:26PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.