West Texas VA Director Talk To CBS 7 About His New Job
February 7th, 2014
Big Spring, Tx
Michael Kiefer says he began thinking about a career in the VA due to the wars in the Middle East ending.
"So I thought what a great match, to pair my mission with taking care of the active duty to then continue that care as they transition," Kiefer said.
He has big plans for the VA, faced with many issues both unique to West Texas and other national issues such as recruiting vets.
"We have about 56,000 eligible veterans in our prime service area and we get about 16,000 veterans. I want to increase that number," he said.
The hours of urgent care have led to complaints as its open more like a business from eight am to five pm. Kiefer says extending those hours is a possibility.
ďUnfortunately, we donít have the staff right now. But we're going to look into the demand to see what is the demand for service into the later hours," Kiefer said.
The most controversial issue at the West Texas VA is the closing of the inpatient care unit. Beds in that area now lie empty.
Kiefer says he supports that closure and will work to make veterans receive their benefits at local hospitals, however coverage isn't guaranteed.
"We will fee base them out and pay for some of those bills, but there will be some of those veterans who donít have coverage, 100% disability coverage, who may experience a bill who wouldn't have if we were an inpatient facility," he said.