By: Nate Morabito
Updated: May 25, 2018
JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) - A Johnson City woman's experience with Mountain Home VA raises more questions about a Veterans Affairs program already under scrutiny.
The VA's caregiver program pays family members to care for post-9/11 veterans with catastrophic injuries. Kim Coble is one of those veterans. She is a victim of military sexual trauma, according to medical records.
As a result, her husband is paid by the VA to take care of the Army veteran, but both say her mental illness only worsened once they entered the program at Mountain Home last year.
"I was really devastated emotionally," Coble said when we interviewed her on March 9. "I just wanted to end my life."
Those words would haunt her in the coming months.
Lawmakers created the VA caregiver program years ago without clear guidelines in Congressman Phil Roe's view. The House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman (R), TN-District 1, said Congress gave each VA facility too much leeway initially.
"It's being looked at," Rep. Roe said of the increased oversight the program is now receiving. "We need to paint the white lines on the road for it, so this is how you do this."
"It makes us feel like we can't make a difference," Martin said. "Nobody's going to listen. Nobody cares."
"That makes me feel very hopeless and helpless," Coble said.
In the days after that meeting, the veteran said she attempted suicide.
"I just went very numb and I tried to kill myself," she said. "I took almost a whole bottle of pills."
Doctors have since treated and released Coble following her suicide attempt.