Navy veteran claims VA doctor left in November hasn't been replaced

A local veteran said the Jacksonville VA clinic abruptly canceled his eye care appointment about two weeks before he was supposed to go.

When he asked why he was told it’s because his doctor left the VA back in November.

It’s the second complaint Action News Jax has received about the VA eye care system in two days.

Navy veteran Rob Flatley reached out to our newsroom to speak out about another issue.

“My eye doctor is no longer with the VA. I was very pleased with him no problems at all. I had an appointment in two weeks I found out it was canceled,” said Flatley.

He said he tried to schedule another appointment.

“The earliest they could get me in is the end of July,” said Flatley.

Flatley said the eye doctor still hasn’t been replaced even though he left back in November.

“They also said they’re having to reschedule 2,000 appointments,” said Flately.

Wednesday, we showed you how Army veteran, Jerry Mettert, has been waiting nearly a month for his eyeglasses from the VA.

A problem, Flatley said he’s also faced before.

“Last year it took me eight weeks to get my glasses in,” said Flatley.

Action News Jax reached out to a VA spokesperson about these claims who replied saying “leadership is working diligently to gather the info you requested.”

“There’s a lot of things they can do better and it’s communication,” said Flatley. “It’s lacking.”

Fortunately, Flatley was able to schedule an appointment for May 2 but he had to go outside the VA for it.

The good news is that Flatley won’t have to go out of pocket because he said his Medicare will take care of it.

Mettert said thanks to our story, the contractor that does the glasses for the VA reached out to him letting him know his order has now been processed and the glasses are getting made.

On Apr. 13, Action News Jax heard back the director of the North Florida and South Georgia Veterans Health System, Thomas Wisnieski, who said the latest numbers show they’ve had to reschedule 298 patients due to the optometrist’s departure.

“I am unable to determine if we had to reschedule 2,000 appointments when he left our employ. It is possible as we schedule out 390 days into the future,” said Wisnieski. “It is our practice that when a provider leaves our employ, we immediately try and fit the Veteran in with another VA provider or offer CHOICE.”

Wisnieski also said that eyeglasses are manufactured by a non-VA contract vendor and that the new contract stipulates that glasses are to be mailed to the patient within seven days after the purchase order is completed.

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