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(WBIR) President Barack Obama plans to nominate former Procter and Gamble executive Robert McDonald to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Monday, Congressman John Duncan Jr. invited leaders of East Tennessee veterans groups to a listening session in his office. He plans to take suggestions from the group to the new secretary.

Most of the comments from the group praised the services of the Knoxville clinic and the hospital in Johnson City.

Some of the suggestions they made were:

  • Move older veterans to Medicare benefits, freeing up services for younger veterans.
  • Allow any veteran to use private medical facilities that would be reimbursed by the VA.
  • Recruit and retain more doctors and nurses to work in VA facilities.
  • Do a better job of informing those leaving the military of what benefits are available to them and how to get those services.

Congressman Duncan told the group that Tennova Healthcare is willing to give their St. Mary's Hospital building to the VA.

"It's my hope that the VA can find some way to use that to their advantage and I'm going to request that somebody from the VA, either somebody from here in the state or somebody from Washington or a combination, that they come down and go through it and at least look in to that," he said.

The congressman says his office is always open for any veteran who wants to talk to him about issues they may be having with the VA.

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