American Legion plans Augusta events to discuss veteran benefits, care

The American Legion will hold a series of sessions in Augusta next week to discuss veteran benefits, including the quality of care being provided at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center.

The first meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday at American Legion Post 205 on Highland Avenue. Officials seek feedback on the quality of care provided at the Augusta VA hospital, which last year reported that the delay of 5,100 endoscopy consultations in its gastrointestinal program led to the deaths of three cancer patients.

The second session will be March 13-15 at Carter Burdell Hagler American Legion Post 178 on Richmond Hill Road. This will kick off the Legion’s veteran service campaign in Augusta.

American Legion members, veterans information staffers and a service officer will be available to help with benefit claims or other veteran-related questions during the three-day event, which opens daily at 10 a.m.

“The greater Augusta area is an ideal place to strengthen partnerships between the veterans and the community,” Lynne Rollins, the commander of the American Legion for the Department of Georgia, said in a news release. “The people here care about their community and practice good citizenship every day.”

The area’s posts will focus on community service and assistance to veterans, each of which will be determined by its members with input from civic and community officials.

Members of the Legion’s System Worth Saving Task Force, which was created in 2003 to monitor the quality of health care at VA hospitals nationwide, will lead the first event and visit the Augusta VA to interview patients, staffers and administrators.

“We conduct these site visits each year to evaluate and report on the quality of health care our veterans are receiving,” said Ralph Bozella, the chairman of the task force. “Our next report will take a comprehensive look at VA health care since we first started evaluating it.”

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