Conway veteran claims treatment delayed for patients at Myrtle Beach VA clinic

A vote in Congress Wednesday could make it easier to fire career employees of Department of Veterans Affairs.

That's in reaction to growing concerns that some workers delayed care and manipulated paperwork while veterans waited weeks and months for care.

NewsChannel 15 heard from one local vet who says similar problems are happening at the VA clinic in Myrtle Beach.

William Caddell of Conway says he spent 23 years in the U.S. Army, most of it as a military policeman, including service in Operation Desert Storm.

After leaving the Army, he worked in security at the Ralph Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston.

That's where he says he injured his back and has experienced problems getting treatment for it at the VA clinic in Myrtle Beach.

For one thing, Caddell says the clinic is not living up to the VA's policy of seeing patients within 14 days of the patient requesting an appointment.

"When you call for an appointment, they will tell you they have this, this and this appointment. Which one do you want? Well, those appointments are three, four-plus months down the road," Caddell said.

Caddell says there are more than 20,000 veterans in the Myrtle Beach area and not nearly enough staff or equipment at the clinic to take care of them all.

"I'm having to take veterans down to Charleston because they can't get to see a doctor in a timely manner in the Myrtle Beach clinic."

Caddell claims two years ago, former General James Vaught documented the clinic's various problems in a letter he took straight to the VA secretary and the president.

"That (letter) was hand-delivered to Secretary (Eric) Shinseki, President Obama," he said.

But Caddell says nothing was done in response to the letter.

And he says the VA's problems are not because of a lack of money.

"It's the management and use of the funds that were allocated for the veterans' care. It's not seeing the veteran at all."

The Myrtle Beach clinic is a primary care provider for the VA Medical Center in Charleston.

NewsChannel 15 called the center and was told we would get a response to Caddell's allegations from the VA regional office in Atlanta, but we did not get a call back.

Our email to VA headquarters in Washington also did not get a response.

We'll let you know as soon as we hear from them.