CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - “How would you feel if you need meds and you have no active provider to oversee that medication? Does that seem safe to you?,” is how Kody Long began.
Long served in the Air Force for six years as a crew chief on the B-1 bomber. He provided a detailed timeline of his treatment at the VA Medical Center in Cleveland, as well as his medical records. The documents back up his claim of being handed off from mental health provider to provider repeatedly.
He was asked if continuous care by one person at the VA is important in cases like his?
“Absolutely. Veterans want continuous care. They don’t want, you know, there’s a hotline of course, but veterans would rather speak to someone they know,” was Long’s answer.
This week’s suicide on the campus of the VA’s Wade Park Medical Center is not an isolated incident.
There were 7,000 veteran suicides in 2018. That’s 20 a day. Twenty-five of them occurred at Veterans Affairs Hospital campuses, including seven already this year.
A statement from the VA Medical Center in Wade Park says, in part:
The stats in the same response say that since 2017, there have been 260 suicide attempts at VA facilities.
Long understands the frustration. Since his doctor left the hospital, he has waited four months for a new doctor to be assigned.
He worries about other patients of the doctor who have more severe problems than he does.
“She had a caseload of 200 other veterans, so that was 200 other veterans that are inactive on care right now,” said Long.
Long is not just a veteran blowing off steam. He is finishing up a Master’s degree in hospital administration.