Veteran says staff blamed wait times at Nashville VA on shutdown - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Veteran says staff blamed wait times at VA on government shutdown

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Jeff Napier, an Army veteran, crushed his finger Monday and nearly amputated it. He says he waited 12 hours at the Nashville VA before a doctor finally treated him.

Napier says the ER didn't seem very busy.

"Eight to 10 people? How quick can you take care of that many customers? But the excuse that they gave was the shutdown," he said.

Napier says he waited until after noon on Wednesday for his 9 a.m. follow-up appointment.

"During the process, the receptionist mentioned it was the government shutdown that was slowing things down. That the computer system was slow, slowing everything down," he said.

The VA has posted a veteran's field guide to the government shutdown on its website. It says "all VA medical facilities will remain fully operational." The VA says none of its medical staff was furloughed.

"They never said they were cutting staff or anything but said the technical end of it was slow," Napier said.

A VA spokesperson confirmed there have been some IT people furloughed in the VA, but not in the health care division and that it has not increased patient wait times. The VA says they do have local IT people to address any computer issues that come up.

The VA says anyone who has a problem at the hospital can ask for help from the patient advocate.

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