Baton Rouge VA Clinic Is An Island Of Efficiency In Nation's Troubled System, Patients Say

Emily Lane | The Times-Picayune | August 15, 2014

After checking in for an appointment at the VA clinic in Baton Rouge, veteran Melvin Rucker said he usually sits the waiting room just 15 or 20 minutes before his name gets called.  "I'm probably in a conversation with somebody, and (getting called) is interrupting," Rucker said. "I wouldn't change anything about the Baton Rouge clinic."

Other area veterans agreed the clinic on Essen Park Avenue was tip-top, especially compared to alarming news reports that surfaced in recent months about Veterans Affairs facilities in other parts of the country. "They're doing their part here," said Norwood Williams Sr. "They give you the support you need."

Rucker, who is in his 60s, and Williams, 59, said appointments usually take no more than two weeks. But needs that extend beyond a simple check up or sick visit to the clinic, Williams and others said, can often turn their local VA experience into a bureaucratic hassle.  "It's typical government stuff," said Eric Fernandez. "If you want them to actually do something, you have to make them do something. No one went out of their way for me."...