Alaska VA Healthcare looking for veteran feedback at upcoming town halls

Outside the Gates
Outside the Gates
Published: Jul. 6, 2023 at 5:28 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska VA Healthcare System is about to embark on its fourth quarter series of Veteran Town Halls next week as part of a continuing effort to improve access to veteran benefits. The sessions are back to in-person after the pandemic forced the VA to hold them virtually over the last two years.

Tom Steinbrunner, director of the Alaska VA Healthcare System, said the town halls are critical for identifying issues within the system based on veteran feedback through personal experience.

“It’s really to give us a broader opportunity for us to, we take time out of our schedule to ensure that we have ready access for our veterans,” Steinbrunner said. “We can engage with veterans, solve any concerns that they have, [and] answer questions that are pertinent to them.”

Steinbrunner said the forums also serve as a means to distribute VA benefits information that veterans otherwise may not know about, such as the recently passed PACT Act law that expands health care benefits for those exposed to toxic substances such as Agent Orange and burn pits.

During the third round of town halls, Steinbrunner said a common concern among veterans was using the call center for the health care system, which is managed out of Vancouver, Wash. He said those issues are now being addressed both internally and regionally by hiring additional personnel, and ensuring the call center is responsive to veteran needs.

According to Steinbrunner, the town halls have also led to the expansion of clinics in Soldotna, Homer, Fairbanks, and the Mat-Su since they were established in 2013.

Anyone with questions on the town halls or veteran benefits can call Alaska VA Health Care at 907 257-5463.

A 34-year Air Force veteran himself, Steinbrunner encourages any veteran or community partner to attend the upcoming town halls.

“We each have a responsibility to share information with our fellow veterans, and this certainly helps the men and women who served have the most up-to-date information possible,” Steinbrunner said.

Upcoming Town Halls from 6 p.m. - 7 p.m.

  • Jul. 11 - Tele-Town Hall, dial 1-866-980-3638 to gain access to the town hall proceedings
  • Jul. 12 - Anchorage, Colonel Mary Louise Rasmuson Campus Conference Center
  • Jul. 13 - Fairbanks, National Guard Armory
  • Jul. 25 - Juneau, University of Alaska Southeast Egan Hall Room 224/225
  • Aug. 10 - Kenai, Kenai Visitor & Cultural Center
  • Aug. 22 - Wasilla, VFW Post 9365