American Legion crisis center stays busy handling VA problems - CBS 5 - KPHO

UPDATE

American Legion crisis center stays busy handling VA problems

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(CBS 5 News) (CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Thousands of Valley veterans rely on the Phoenix VA Medical Center for care even though hundreds have been dropped off a waiting list and as many as 40 veterans allegedly died while waiting for care.

Earlier this week, American Legion hosted a town hall meeting in an effort to get answers.

Judi Beischel, Arizona's American Legion commander, said the scandal in the VA system spiraled out of control over the last few months.

"It's unbelievable," Beischel said. "Veterans have been patient, but they had no idea they had been dropped off the list."

After Monday's town hall meeting, the American Legion took accountability to another level by putting together a Crisis Command Center at Post 1 in downtown Phoenix.

Beischel said volunteers are available to answer questions and concerns veterans have about the care they're receiving at the Phoenix VA Medical Center. 

James Lawson said veterans like himself deserve answers.

"This country needs to decide to take care of those veterans," Lawson said. "From there, go forward and make sure we don't make the same mistakes twice."

On Tuesday, the VA Crisis Command Center was open from noon to 8 p.m. and had 159 people came in and volunteers got them registered and filed claims.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the command center was staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. There were 169 veterans in house throughout the day Wednesday. The American Legion said Thursday was also busy.

On Friday, the command center staff will be available from 8 a.m. until noon.

For more on this story and other stories around Arizona from this author, follow Shawn Kline on Facebook and Twitter. 

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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