PARSONS, W.Va. – The Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center held it’s first town hall meeting since 2019 at the Tucker County Senior Citizens Center on Friday.

The open to the public town hall meeting ensures veterans, their families and beneficiaries have the opportunity to have their voices heard and concerns addressed.

“Everyday we are trying to make things better for the Veterans of our catchment area, trying to look at services that they might need and provide them for them it’s our number one mission, and we thank the Veterans for what they have done and we appreciate the opportunity to be able to care for them,” said Barbara Forsha, the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center director.

A market assessment was done in the state of West Virginia and it looked at where Veterans are located and determined future recommendations of where facilities should be focused. These recommendations can possibly cause smaller VA facilities to be removed and relocated due to current Veteran population locations.

Forsha said, “so what we are looking at with the market assessment is trying to make sure that (veterans) have access to care, (veterans) have modernized facilities, and it is in an area that (veterans) can seek that care.”

The biggest concern veterans had was with talks about losing local VA Healthcare facilities with federal government recommendations to move it to a larger facility in Upshur County.

Other concerns if the facility moved is that some disabled Veterans would not be able to go to the larger facility and would face transportation issues.

Veterans are worried that even though a newly proposed recommendation offers more services then they currently have now is that it wouldn’t matter as they would struggle to make it to these larger facilities and would lose the local services they have now.

Forsha said, “So they are only recommendations at this point and are not final, the intent for the one recommendation was to move the (Community-based outpatient clinic) to Upshur County, with the intent that it becomes a multi-specialty (Community-based outpatient clinic), what that means is that (veterans) will have a lot more opportunities to have services provided to them that they don’t have today.”

Town Hall meeting goals are to address as many voices as possible and allows the VA to hear feedback from Veterans to provide better services for Veterans.

“One of the things that the Veterans expressed today is that they would like to have a lot more services provided to them and we are in the process of doing that as we speak,” said Forsha.

The Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center plans to hold three more open Town Hall Meetings in 2022 and will have the information on their website and Facebook pages.

The VA also recommends Veterans to contact local governmental representatives to help with future VA legislation policy changes.

The Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center Facebook page can be found here.

For more information on the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center, click here.