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Local veterans concerned with care at Pueblo V.A. clinic - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Local veterans concerned with care at Pueblo V.A. clinic

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PUEBLO -

The stories from our local military veterans are eye opening.

"One of the last jumps I did was into Fort Carson, we were doing some training here and I hit a down wind sheer and instead of coming like this, it was like this and I broke my back," said Ernest West, Retired Cpt. U.S. Army Special Forces.  

He's had five back surgeries as a result of his military injuries and is expecting a sixth.

West has also had hip and shoulder surgery as a result of his military related injuries.

But, for West and many others in Southern Colorado, prompt medical care is getting tougher because of the staffing reductions in the Pueblo Veteran's Affairs Clinic they said.

More and more veterans are needing the care since we've been at war now basically with terrorists for 20 years and there are more and more veterans that need the help and they can't get it," said Steven Evans, Retired Communications Specialist with the U.S. Army.  "I myself have been taken very well care of over the years, but now it's going downhill, even for me."

The V.A. in Denver told News 5, three providers have left the Pueblo clinic recently and they're left with three primary care clinicians.  

Not nearly enough for the thousands of veterans needing care in Southern Colorado many veterans believe.

"She told me I have 105% loss in this ear and 97% in this ear, the VA said I have a mild hearing loss," said Pablo Marquez, who's retired U.S. Army and has been waiting eight months for a phone call back to schedule a medical appointment.

"It's just, it is a fiasco it really is and my opinion with what's going on here, it's management problem," said West.

In a statement to News 5, a spokesperson for the the V.A. in Denver said, "Recently three providers at VA's Pueblo Community-Based Outpatient Clinic left, leaving us with three primary care clinicians. While we are in the process of hiring new medical personnel, we are using all available tools – including Telehealth and the Choice Program – to continue providing high quality health care services that our Veterans have earned. Pueblo area Veterans should know we stand ready to provide the same reliable services we always have, with wait times that are comparable to other local health care providers."

The V.A. said according to, www.accesstocare.va.gov, the current wait for new Pueblo VA patients seeking primary care is 45 days and 16 days for existing patients.

Veterans News 5 spoke with do not see their care improving any time soon, even with additional hires within the Pueblo clinic.

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