Aug 27, 2013 11:24 PM by Steven Albritton

New Iberia Veterans Want Answers For Why New VA Hospital Not Happening

Veterans here in Acadiana say they've been snubbed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The V.A. Secretary, retired U.S. Army General Erik Shinseki, is making a trip to Louisiana, but Acadiana is not on the itinerary. There are a number of issues facing veterans in south Louisiana and bringing a new VA hospital to the area is on the list. It's a hospital veterans have been fighting to get for several years.

"We've been pursuing this in excess of two years and as of yet we have not seen any positive reaction," retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Fred Wesley said.

"We have heard time, after time, after time about hospitals and clinics," retired U.S. Army PFC John Mercer said.

Veterans say there are broken promises they've been dealing with them for years. They say they've been promised a hospital in Acadiana many times, so they wouldn't have to travel to cities as far away as Houston, Shreveport or Alexandria just to see a doctor.

"We've been told that for the past 30 years. The clinic up in Lafayette, it's so far behind that there's too many of us that they can't take care of all of us," retired U.S. Navy GM3 Bennie Schovajsa said.

Secretary Shinseki's decision not to visit only adds to the frustration.

"It's like we were treated when we came back from Vietnam. I don't know if you heard the stories. We're just being pushed aside and they're not telling us the true story of what's going on," retired U.S. Army Specialist Ernest Smith said.

U.S. Congressman Charles Boustany weighed in saying Shinseki's department has made bureaucratic errors and has made promises for improvements to veteran health care which they haven't kept. He says they should be held accountable.

"It's wrong. It's not doing justice to our veterans and we're going to stay on them until they address this," Boustany said.

"All we're getting is promises. As they saying goes, you can spit in one hand and wish in the other and see which one gets full the quickest," Mercer said.

We were unable to reach anyone in Shinseki's office for comment.



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