VA audit shows veterans not getting care

VA Clinic in Sevierville is expanding to serve 1300 more people. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A VA audit finds 57,000 vets waited over 90 days for an appointment.

In Knoxville, a VA spokesperson, says they're aware of the need for people to get service.

"Knoxville's our largest growth area. So those fill up rather quickly. Even before the audit was released We were working towards that goal. We've known that Knoxville is a high growth area," said Judy Fowler-Argo.

Argo says a clinic opened in Sevierville in 2012 and has helped the Knoxville area. She says 2200 people are now served in Sevierville. She added that a current expansion would be able to service nearly 1300 people by the fall.

Attorney Barry Allen serves people who have been turned down for disability benefits which sometimes means they have lower priority for care. He serves some clients who've waited 40 years and have been turned down time after time for care.

Allen says his clients aren't trying to get one over on the system, but simply get what they believe they worked for.

"What I do have are clients who honestly believe they served in the military, were injured, and have a compensable injury that the government should cover under the disability claims process," said Allen. "I do not see it getting resolved anytime soon. The problem is the VA system is a very large complex system and it does not change itself easily or quickly."

Allen says the VA should look at how it prioritizes patients for care and add doctors and nurses to serve them.

Argo says the situation should get better in Knoxville on Monday. A new clinic is set to open in Campbell County. The clinic will serve 1300 patients and already of the 800 identified that the clinic could serve, 400 have signed up.

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