Durbin Hosts VA Roundtable

The Bob Michel Outpatient Clinic in Peoria was one of several Illinois VA facilities flagged in an audit.

A VFW representative says if there is a problem with the wait list at the Bob Michel Clinic, it's because the proper medical staff isn't there all the time. Carey Timmermann talks about her husband who suffers headaches.

"If he wanted to get treated in Peoria they said three months wait," Timmermann told U.S. Senator Dick Durbin during a roundtable discussion in Peoria. "But, they said you could go to Danville. I think we went in less than a week to see a neurologist in Danville."

Timmermann and other veterans service organization representatives met with Durbin at the Peoria County Courthouse.

Mark Aaron, Disabled American Veterans' Legislative Director, says he feels money and management are behind the problems.

"A gentleman I talked to, when he was in the hospital he was in a five-bed ward," Aaron said. "The nurse would come in with medicine, they got to the third or fourth gentleman, and said 'We're out of medicine. We don't have any for you. We'll catch you next time around.'"

Durbin told the group no specific reasons have been given for the Bob Michel clinic to be among those flagged. He says he's holding similar roundtables throughout the state to gather some information himself.

But, one thing Durbin says the government needs is whistle-blowers. But, at the same time, those whistle-blowers need to be protected.

"If management is receptive, receive this information, take it seriously and don't punish the person who steps up," Durbin says, "then people are willing to talk."

Earlier this month, Durbin met with with Springfield veterans to hear about their experiences with the VA.

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