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VA Officials Hold Open House In Phoenix

By Carrie Jung, Mark Brodie
Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - 3:29pm
Updated: Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 4:15pm
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(Photo by Carrie Jung — KJZZ)
VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson speaks with a veteran at the Phoenix medical center open house.
(Photo by Carrie Jung — KJZZ)
Veterans and their families had the opportunity to meet with VA staff and leadership during Tuesday's open house.

The Phoenix Veterans Affairs medical center hosted an open house for veterans and their families to help them get the word out about new agency initiatives and talk about challenges they’ve encountered at the facility.

VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson and new Phoenix Medical Center director Rima Nelson were among those in attendance.

Before the open house got under way, Gibson spent much of his day talking with VA staff about what has improved and what still needs some work.

He cited more completed appointments and the construction of a parking garage as positives, but added primary care supply and demand is still an issue. Gibson explained officials are working to hire more support staff for those doctors.

"If we took a snapshot and froze demand two and a half years ago, I think we’d be looking at a very different situation than the one we’ve got right now," Gibson said. "But we haven’t. More veterans are coming to us for more healthcare than ever. So we’re still working to balance supply and demand."

Veteran response to the event was varied. Some stopped by to say thanks for a good experience, while many hoped for a few seconds with agency leadership to get help resolving ongoing issues.

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