American Legion to hold town hall meeting in Phoenix on VA health care

The American Legion, the country’s largest organization of wartime veterans, will host a town hall meeting in Phoenix that will focus on the past, present and future of health care at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center there.

American Legion health-care experts will also visit the Phoenix VA Health Care System on May 14-15 to interview key administrators, medical staff and patients. The facility has come under fire recently from allegations that it maintained a secret list of patients with long-overdue medical appointments; the list has been linked to the deaths of at least 40 patients, according to CNN.

The town hall meeting, open to the public, is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 13, at American Legion Post 41 on 715 S. 2nd Ave. in Phoenix. Those who have served in the U.S. military, especially veterans receiving health care at the Phoenix VA facility, are encouraged to attend.

Two members of The American Legion’s System Worth Saving (SWS) Task Force will facilitate the meeting: Tom Mullon, retired director of the VA medical center in Minneapolis and former VA regional medical director; and Roscoe Butler, retired VA Central Office employee who served as deputy director for business policy and worked at six VA health-care facilities.

Mullon was a VA employee for more than 40 years and Butler worked there more than 34 years; both will conduct interviews at the Phoenix VA facility.
The SWS program was created in 2003 to monitor the quality of health-care at VA medical centers nationwide. "We conduct these site visits each year to evaluate and report on the quality of health care our veterans are receiving," said Ralph Bozella, chairman of the task force. “Our next report will take a comprehensive look at VA health care since we first started evaluating it.”

Bozella said the input and feedback received from veterans during the town hall meetings “helps us to understand firsthand what challenges and recommendations they have for improving their own medical care.”

Town hall meetings and hospital visits are conducted by SWS Task Force members who travel to about 15 VA medical centers annually. Task force members writes reports based on their findings, which are later released to the public and submitted to Congress, the White House and senior VA leadership.