Tomah VA holds town hall meeting - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Tomah VA holds town hall meeting

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Tomah, WI (WXOW) -

The Tomah VA held a town hall meeting Tuesday night as a chance for veterans to voice concerns or ask questions of the VA administration.

The meetings are designed to provide updates on VA operations and improvements regarding healthcare and benefits for veterans. Following the 2014 allegations of over-prescription of pain medication at the Tomah VA, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald directed VA facilities nationwide to hold town hall meetings to improve lines of communication.

MORE: Allegations Continue at Tomah VA

At Tuesday's meeting, the VA took time to discuss advancements it has made within its adaptive sports program, while also taking questions from veterans in attendance.

However, the most recent controversy at the Tomah VA, regarding a dentist who was improperly sterilizing his tools, did not surface.

MORE: VA Dentist Resigns

Navy veteran John Rusch said he's received care at the VA for about three years and his experience has been a positive one.

"I was talking to some of the vets and they say, well that's just one dentist," he said. "So yeah, they have some bad apples but my experience has been absolutely fantastic."

Acting Director Victoria Brahm, who led the town hall meeting, said the culture within the facility has changed over the past twelve months.

"Last year the Tomah VA was at the bottom in the nation based off of feedback from our employee surveys," she said. "Bu this year, the morale and comfort level amongst our employees has increased tremendously."

Additionally, the Veterans Assistance Foundation, the non profit homeless shelter at the VA, will now lease the second floor of Building 407 through the end of April.

MORE: VAF Faces Uncertain Future

It says the VA will conduct a walk-through inspection of the floor, after a resident veteran jumped out of a third floor window last month.

The VA also announced a process for veterans to receive screening from VA community based outpatient clinics or Non-VA providers, specifically for the 592 veterans previously notified about free testing for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. The tests, come after an investigation into a VA dentist, who has since resigned, about the improper sterilization of his tools.

 The process, is designed to allow those veterans to receive lab screenings from clinics outside the facility.

First, the veteran must call the Tomah VA Nurse Triage line at 1-888-598-7793 and request to have labs drawn and tested at a CBOC or non-VA care facility.

The veteran will then be contacted by Tomah VA providers to gain informed consent of the vet. The provider will also inform the veteran that should any of the screening labs come back as positive, confirmatory testing will need to be done within the VA system to rule out false positives and to ensure all referrals and treatment are properly set up.

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