Lufkin veterans speak out about VA scandal

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A top health official with the Department of Veterans Affairs stepped down Friday in the midst of a scandal. Dr. Robert Petzel, the VA's Under Secretary for Health, was asked to step down after inquests were made into the death of 40 veterans.

Reports claimed that the Phoenix VA facility had doctored wait times in order to delay treatments. Those delays could have caused the numerous deaths. Vietnam Veteran Faron Fipps finds the whole situation unfortunate. However, despite the allegation Fipps said for the last 30 years he has received some of the best care from VA Clinics in the Lufkin and Houston area.

"I had to have a 4 way bypass back in 2008 in Houston and my doctor is fantastic. I have no problems with him in fact he calls me about once a week to see how I am doing," Fipps said.

Denziel Ekman has had a different experience.

"It's a broke system and it needs to be fixed," Ekman said.

Ekman had Cataract surgery in both of his eyes this past year and said the wait was too long.

"I had to wait 5 months or 6 months and in civilian life it's like two weeks. Also when you go down there they treat you like a slab of meat," Ekman said.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Erin K. Shinseki released this statement via The Department of Veteran Affairs website:

"Today(Friday), I accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs. As we know from the Veteran community, most Veterans are satisfied with the quality of their VA health care, but we must do more to improve timely access to that care.I am committed to strengthening Veterans' trust and confidence in their VA healthcare system."I thank Dr. Petzel for his four decades of service to Veterans."

In the end, both Fipps and Ekman agreed that they have received excellent care for the VA clinic in East Texas.

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