After my retirement in August of 2002, I began volunteering on Friday mornings, at the Fort Wayne VA Medical Center. As a veteran, I was also receiving medical care from the VA, and I just felt that I could give back to them by doing this. I helped there until 2009.
I had originally planned to volunteer at the Parkview Hospital on Randallia Hospital because my sister had helped there for many years. However, after my first visit to the VA, and witnessing the great facility, and staff, there, I decided to enter the VA volunteer orientation process, and then helped there until 2009.
During my seven years of volunteer service at the VA, the Parkview, Lutheran, St. Joseph Hospital, and the new area community hospitals, continued to expand to meet the ever-changing and increasing medical needs of the citizens of Fort Wayne, northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio and southern Michigan. and all of the Northeast Indiana, Northwest Ohio, and Southern Michigan regions. Also, during that time, it seemed as if the whole national VA system was coming under greater scrutiny, and each week would bring out new rumors about the future of the entire VA Northern Indiana Health Care System at Fort Wayne, and Marion. This was especially ill-timed due to the increasing demands on the entire VA system from the returning Iraq and Afghan veterans.
Many times during the latter part of my VA service, I wondered why the in-patient, trauma, and emergency care for the areas veterans couldnt be served by our area hospitals and then reconfigure the VA Medical Center into an outpatient and pharmacy complex since that has always been the major portion of the care provided. As I remember, the fourth floor at the VA only has a 26-bed inpatient capacity. I still believe that this option should be explored to ensure that all of our present and returning veterans receive the much-needed care that they have been promised.
The recent Journal Gazette articles about the suspension of in-patient care at the VA, and the forth-coming review by the Department of Veterans Affairs into that decision, would be the perfect time to do this.