The Department of Veterans Affairs is facing allegations it denied some veterans referrals to Legacy Village, Bakersfield’s only residential rehabilitation treatment center.
The rehab facility houses up to 20 clients, and includes a group room where therapy and relapse prevention classes take place.
“We have worked hard for us to become in-network providers with the V.A., but that hasn’t resulted in us being able to treat any vets.” ” said Dennis Farmer, CEO and founder of Legacy Village.
The V.A.’s bureaucratic system is much to blame, according to Farmer.
“We’re getting some referrals from the Bakersfield clinic,” he said, adding “The physicians and psychologists are interested in referring locally, but the west Los Angeles V.A. is not approving those referrals. And there seems to be a roadblock there preventing local veterans from getting local help.”
According to the V.A., 20 active duty service members and veterans commit suicide each day, or one every 65 minutes. Farmer believes denying such treatment for veterans could ultimately prove fatal.
17 news reached out to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs for comment. A representative said the department is looking into the matter. Farmer said he hopes to work with the V.A. to find a solution.
“I would love to partner with them,” he said. “I’d love to be seen as an advocate for our veterans’ care, and to be an ally with the V.A. to lower cost, to enhance services, to make more accessible residential treatment for any veteran who needs it.”
*Following KGET’s involvement with this story, members of the V.A. reached out to Legacy Village Tuesday afternoon, and are working to set up a time to discuss the matter. A representative with the V.A. added she hopes to release a full statement by Wednesday. KGET will post the statement in full on our website, KGET.com.