BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Brunswick County VA Clinic is about to lose its only in-house doctor without a replacement lined up. One employee says the facility is already overwhelmed with patients.
A VA worker, who requested to remain anonymous, says the veterans affairs clinic in Supply has known this for five months and did nothing.
“I am not here as a VA employee,” the worker said. “I am here as a veteran, wanting to make sure my fellow veterans are fully taken care of, and not forgotten, or dropped off. Some of these veterans have been waiting for over 100 days for an appointment that keeps getting canceled and rescheduled. Some of these veterans, we’ve had veterans in such pain, they’re laying on the floor.”
WWAY reached out to the VA Public Affairs in Fayetteville.
The Fayetteville VA Medical Center (VAMC) has a plan in place to ensure Veterans experience seamless care across all of its community clinics, and this departure will have no negative impact on patient care.
Continuous coverage for existing Brunswick County clinic appointments will be provided by visiting physicians from the Wilmington Health Care Center and Fayetteville VAMC, or by telehealth methods. And as always, VA refers Veterans to nearby community providers as needed.
The VA worker says this plan is only temporary.
“Right now, the face-to-face provider clinic is booked up pretty much until December,” the worker told WWAY. “Now he’s leaving, they only have a temporary plan through the summer.”
There are two physicians who consult with patients through video chat, but one is booked up and the other only works one day a week.
The worker says it takes almost a year to get a doctor credentialed and fully hired on before they can touch a patient.
“In nine months, that doctor can’t sit and wait, they go and find another job,” the worker said. “That’s why the VA is so short on providers.”
The worker adds the clinic is like a revolving door and the last physician resigned as well.
“One doctor is overwhelmed,” the worker said. “If they had two doctors there, it would be a world of difference. That one doctor who’s trying to juggle 1,300 or 1,500 patients, you would split that.”
Public affairs also told WWAY the Brunswick County clinic patients are being notified of this change by mail, and the facility is actively recruiting new physicians. Those interested in applying should visit https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/518857800