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Master Sergeant James H. Tippins, USMC (Ret.)

Master Sergeant James H. Tippins, USMC (Ret.), Montford Point Marine Association, President, Chapter 29, Jacksonville, FL

Honorable Representatives,

I James H. Tippins a patient at the Jacksonville, Florida VA Outpatient Clinic located at 1833 Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32206.

In my opinion the clinic staff does an overall excellent job of patient care and service based on the conditions that they are faced with, such as the number of patients they are required to service from South Georgia and North Florida, with the inadequate facilities available. However I have TRICARE for Life and can go to other hospitals, that is a blessing because I was diagnosed as having prostate cancer, and the VA had no Urologist available and my PSA reading elevated to 29, and the only reason that I am here today is that I had the option of tri-care for life.

When you get into the local system and assigned to a team, the primary care doctor usually will monitor your condition and accomplish good patient care. The pharmacy and laboratory, is excellent but is regularly overcrowded due to the patient load, although the eye clinic regularly has a 3-4 hour wait. Overall with the number of veterans located in this area the present facilities need to be improved to maintain and provide the patient health care.

As part of this presentation I visited the listed veteran’s organizations to get input from their membership to include in this hearing.

  1. VFW Post # 4761
  2. American Legion Post #197
  3. Montford Point Marines Chapter #29

In summary, there is a major problem in getting health records from active duty to the VA, has caused hardship and frustration in verifying service connected disabilities. Suggestion if transition process included getting the health records forwarded to the local VA with the new technology this could be accomplished during the check out procedure when released from active duty.

There is a problem getting specialty care at the Jacksonville clinic and getting an appointment at Lake City or Gainesville hospital is very difficult. Transportation to hospitals is not always available to meet the scheduled appointments.  Many veterans have physical problems that develop after being released from active duty and proving that the illness is service connected has been a major dilemma, such as the gulf war, hearing problems developed from serving in artillery, joint troubles knees, legs, etc. These aliments normally don’t transpire until years later.

Emergency care is almost none existence at the local clinic and getting to the hospitals for treatment 40 miles away could be better served with a local hospital.

There has been a noticeable increase in the number of veterans in the Jacksonville area seeking health care as promised by the government for military service.

In conclusion the North Florida and South Georgia area need a hospital to meet the increase need for VA health care. Although the clinic achieve a commendable job with what’s available to the local staff.