Oklahoma City Veteran Affairs Responds To Federal Audit

Tuesday, June 10th 2014, 7:48 pm
By: News 9

Last week, the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs said, there's a 9 day wait for new patients, but now the agency is saying that wait is closer to 44 days.

"At this point it feels like I've been betrayed, to put it emotionally it feels like I've had my heart ripped out," said Army Vet Brandon Plunkett.

Plunkett spent four years in the army, three as a Ranger, and not even that could prepare him for his current battle with the OKC VA Medical Center.

"There are some days I'm bent over with pain and I have to stay in bed," said Plunkett.

Plunkett is in so much pain that he may be forced out of his Ph.D, MD program at OU for poor attendance.

He points to the VA for the lack of employment, which has an orthopedics unit he's been trying to get into for two years, and a doctor who he says just won't cooperate.

"Just this last April, she decided to take away all my pain medication," said Plunkett.

According to doctors, Plunkett may be 36-year-old, but he has the knees of a 70-year-old.

"It's more than just me with pain, just put street clothes on ands it in the waiting room and you'll hear everything you need to know about the VA," said Plunkett.

According to the federal VA audit, the average waiting room time for new patients is 44 days. That number is different from what Oklahoma City VA Director and CEO Daniel Marsh told News 9 last week.

"The average wait time for a new patient is 9.5 days," said Marsh on June 2nd.

Marsh explained the difference 8 days later.

"One day you could take a snap shot and then 10 minutes later you could take another snap shot and the numbers could change," said Marsh. "We are constantly rescheduling by about 30. We see thousands of patients a day."

Marsh went on to say some of the blame for the wait is due to competitive salaries with nearby hospitals as well as other patients needing more immediate care. Plunkett says he is fed up.

"Patients are going to keep suffering and suffering is the right word," said Plunkett.

Marsh also mentioned the VA continues to see an increase in the number of patients. The VA saw over 4,000 more patients in the last four years.