Texas veteran experiences long phone time calling VA

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - A local veteran is raising concerns about a long wait time for medical help.

Chris Symons of College Station told KBTX that he waited more than an hour on the phone this week to schedule having his prosthetic leg looked at.

"I did three years in the Army, one year in Iraq, came back with everything great," said Symons. "My injuries actually happened after Iraq, but the VA still takes great care of me."

On Thursday Symons needed to call a Temple area phone number. He described what happened next:

"[The VA] has gone above and beyond actually, but yesterday was rare," said Symons. "I was put on hold--and was put on hold for an hour and 15 minutes."

Media staff with the VA in Temple apologized for the wait time.
They told KBTX no veteran should have to wait more than 10 minutes on the phone, and they said even that wait is too long.

Symons called back Friday on a different number, and after just a few minutes of waiting, was able to set up an appointment in Houston next month.

Symons says he did not receive an explanation about the previous hold time.

"The exact response was, 'Well that wasn't me that put you on hold that long,'" said Symons.

Symons said he also uses his phone for work and having to be on hold impacts his business.

"I run a family-owned and operated business here with my brothers, Aggieland Garage Door, and 95 percent of the time I am not in the office," Symons said. "I understand a little bit of a hold time, but an hour and 15 minutes costs money."

Symons hopes the VA will review phone policies.

"Obviously it's not working right when you've got someone on hold for an hour and 15 minutes," said Symons. "So maybe they should look at different routes of getting it taken care of."

Veterans Affairs tells us they were working on tracking down who the number belongs to that Chris Symons called.

The VA's Office says any veteran experiencing problems contacting a provider should call their Patient Advocate Office at (254) 743-0586. The VA also has a call center available at (800) 423-2111 and select option number 2.