The Bush Administration has military and veteran's hospitals across the nation under a microscope after failures to investigate problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. So what's the state of Rockford's own vet clinic?
"They're good enough to go and sacrifice their life and we give them nothing."
It's comments like this one, from the wife of a U.S. soldier wounded in Iraq, that have started a mass evaluation of the medical treatment our soldiers receive.
The problems started with reports of poor treatment and unsanitary conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Now the investigation is widening.
A presidential commission announced Sunday all military and veteran's hospitals must be evaluated.
Rockford has it's own veteran's clinic. Employees there say their jobs have changed since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"The veterans that I see, they're from Iraq, they come home, they're working, they have families, they have kids, they have professional jobs, they're in college. And we're trying to open up our mental healthlines so we can see these veterans," says Leon Black, a clinical social worker at Rockford's William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Clinic.
Black says he most commonly treats post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Dealing with the trauma of war, having the flashbacks, can't sleep at night, marital problems," says Black.
Rockford's clinic offers a telemental health system, whereby a patient can speak with a psychiatrist in the clinic's parent hospital in Madison.
The clinic also offers physical therapy for patients dealing with chronic injuries. Employees say the focus is always on quality care.
"We have higher inpatient satisfaction scores, higher outpatient satisfaction scores, so we're very proud to care for our veterans," says Lynda Everson, the clinic's Ambulatory Care Manager.
The clinic does mental health intake every Friday from 8 A.M. to noon. That way veterans who need help right away can be seen to talk through any problems they're having.
The clinic also does a lot of work with homeless veterans in Rockford. They help veterans who may have fallen through the cracks when they got home from war get back on their feet.
The William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Clinic is located at 4940 East State Street in Rockford. They're open every day from 8 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Call 815-227-0081 for more information or to make an appointment.