ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–A mixed report card for the John Cochran VA medical center from veterans who received medical treatment there in recent months.
The “secret shopper” survey of 185 veterans found 60 percent would recommend the facility to other veterans — but 40 percent would not.
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, who organized the effort, says most of the complaints centered on customer service issues, rather than quality of medical treatment.
“There were frustrations with some of the phone appointment systems, how quickly they can get appointments,” McCaskill said, “There was some frustration about the long waits at sometimes in the emergency rooms, and cleanliness issues in the bathrooms that need to be addressed in an agressive way.”
The survey also found some veterans walked away uncertain about the direction of their medical care.
“There was a sense by too many veterans, not the majority, but too many veterans, that they weren’t getting clear communication while they were at John Cochran about what was happening,” McCaskill said, “and what they should do in terms of their after-care, some of the information about their medications .”
Two long-serving VFW members — George Newell and Bob Murphy — appeared with McCaskill, both saying they receive good medical treatment from John Cochran. Both encouraged veterans to continue to use the facility and to participate in the survey to hill improve service in the future.
Missouri politicians have been paying more attention to the John Cochran center over the past year, after problems came to light with dirty dental equipment and improperly sterilized surgical instruments.
McCaskill says this is the first of several updates on survey results she’s planning in the months ahead. She also hopes to expand the survey to other VA medical facilities statewide, with the next site in Kansas City.