LEEDS, Mass. (WWLP) – Monday, Veterans Affairs centers across the nation held discussions about improvements and challenges in veterans’ health care.
Last April, criticism came after it was discovered that long wait times at VA health care facilities in Phoenix, Arizona contributed to a number of veterans’ deaths.
As a result, Robert McDonald came to serve as the new U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and over the past year has tried to make changes nationwide. The VA of Central Western Mass. received money to hire 40 new staffers to improve access to primary care. They’ve also been working on renovating the campus in Leeds.
John Collins, Director of the VA of Central Western Mass., told 22News, “We have a number of projects happening now here. A new nursing home is being built. We just opened a new women’s veterans’ clinic about a month ago. Had the ribbon cutting, because there’s an increasing number of women veterans, and just trying to make this place look like a really good place not just to get care, but to give care.”
Collins has been the director of the VA of Central Western Mass for about ten months now. He says the challenge is now improving specialty care, and a new facility in Worcester should help improve specialty care access to veterans at the end of the year.
The VA of Central Western Mass has six sites throughout the region and 851 employees. They service more than 25,000 veterans.