Spokane veteran says prescription refill delayed at VA - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane veteran says prescription refill delayed at VA

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Recent delays at Spokane's VA hospital are causing problems for veterans. Recent delays at Spokane's VA hospital are causing problems for veterans.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Navy veteran Fredrich Margiotta takes more than 40 pills every day to deal with his health problems. He takes them for a spinal cord injury, and for shoulder problems caused during his service in the '70s. He says recent delays have kept him from getting his medication.

“I tried to call the prescription in, and the telephone would ring and ring…and then hang up,” he explained. Margiotta says the automated telephone system he uses to refill his prescription was down for at least 24 hours this week, from Tuesday until Wednesday night. There is an Internet option for refilling prescriptions, but he says he and many of his fellow veterans don't use the Internet. He says when he alerted the Mann-Grandstaff Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Spokane, the woman working told him that many patients were complaining about the same problem.

Although Margiotta was able to get his medications Thursday, he says he's worried that this is a part of a bigger problem. “There are a lot of Afghanistan veterans who don't trust the VA system. They don't think they're being treated right,” he said.

Now, he lives with his two cats in Spokane, where he relies on the VA for medical care.

That mistrust may be sparked by the nationwide scandal last year, when the Veterans Affairs Department famously fired four senior executives, after controversy over patient wait times.

In the '70s, Margiotta served America, stationed all over the world. Now, he lives with his two cats in Spokane, where he relies on the VA for medical care.

Brett Bowers with the Spokane Veteran Affairs Medical Center responded to Margiotta's claims with the following statement: 

“The VAMC's automated prescription call center experienced a large volume of calls following the federal holiday weekend. The system software was overloaded, causing intermittent delays or lost calls for some veterans on Tuesday or Wednesday. The VA notified our third-party contractor to repair and expand the system's software capabilities in order to receive and route calls to the medical center's pharmacy technicians in a consistent and timely manner. Yesterday, the contractor pinpointed the problem and had to take the system off-line for approximately 90-minutes to make the necessary repairs. The pharmacy's automated phone system is operating normally at this time. It is one of three ways veteran patients can submit prescription refill requests for medications already prescribed: enrolled veterans can use their MyHealtheVet web-portal for secure messaging; they can also use the provided mail-in slips from their medications; the automated refill request line which, when needed, can automatically route a request directly to the veteran's provider for review and approval.”

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