VA announces monthly Alamosa meetings


ALAMOSA — “We don’t know what we don’t know until you let us know,” said Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Health Care System Regional Director Kim Hoge at the quarterly veterans’ town hall meeting on Friday. Hoge announced that the doors of Alamosa’s VA clinic will be open to all veterans to talk with counsel every third Wednesday at 11 a.m. to help facilitate communication.

“We have one mission and one mission only: to take care of our veterans by offering the best darn healthcare we can and that’s what we’re here for,” said Hoge.

The meeting gave veterans the opportunity to talk to providers in person and learn more about programs like veteran to farm programs, suicide prevention and other services.

Before Hoge made the announcement, Eastern Colorado Health Care System Director Sallie Houser-Hanfelder updated the attendees on what the VA is working on. Due to geography the local VA clinic is still without a physician despite offering incentives to pay for relocation and to pay off medical education loans.

“We have a national search going on and we have not been successful,” said Houser-Hanfelder.

She also said that the VA is moving away from readily available services such as optometry to focus on more relevant care.

“We need to concentrate on foundational services like rehabilitation, mental health and primary care,” she said. Additionally, the VA is building a new spinal cord injury center into their new hospital that should open in Colorado in March of 2018.

The VA recognized that healthcare systems have their problems, such as scheduling, referrals and bill paying issues, and that’s why they’ll have the monthly discussions.

“It’s going to take your voice,” Houser-Hanfelder said. “When you hear things about what the VA up high is doing, and you don’t like it, you have a voice and need to let it be heard.”