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Local Vets Welcome VA Admin Reshuffle

By Keith Carls, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Reporter, KeithCarls@kcoy.com
Published On: May 30 2014 07:48:51 PM CDT
Updated On: May 30 2014 10:39:17 PM CDT

President accepts resignation of VA Secretary Shinseki

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. -

A shakeup in the Veterans Administration is welcome news to local vets Central Coast News spoke with.

"They could do better for us, a lot better, the whole system", says Iraq War veteran Thomas Carrel who has seen his share of waiting to see the doctor.

"Its frustrating at times", Carrel says, "because you want to get seen for what your ailment is, sometimes you've got to wait six months to see a doctor."

Carrel says the big government VA system is in need of a top to bottom overhaul.

"The old system they had was a lot better than this new system", Carrel says, "the old system was you can go and tell them your ailments and you wanted to go see a doctor, now its like six months out sometimes."

"Every politician out there says I'm for the veterans, let's take care of the veterans, why are we in this position?", asks Santa Barbara County Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino who spearheaded a grassroots effort to reach out to local vets through what is now an annual Veterans Stand Down conference in Santa Maria to match local veteran needs with professional help in the community.

"Now that we've hired four veterans services officers in the county we've got more people that can do one on one with them and help them through the process, know what forms need to be filled out", Supervisor Lavagnino says, "we've seen a huge windfall in the benefits that are going back to our local veterans."

Its something vets like Thomas Carrel are looking for with the VA.

"The healthcare system, anything needs to be better", Carrel says, "I mean its just overall more support for us."

Central Coast News was unable to confirm through the VA Office in Los Angeles if any of the the local clinics or referral centers on the Central Coast are part of the nationwide VA Clinic investigation ordered by President Obama.

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