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Wilmington VA Medical Center


Customer Service

Patient Advocate Program

Our Patient Advocate program serves as the medical center's point of contact for Veterans and family members to advocate on your behalf when you are unable to resolve concerns. The Patient Advocate works directly with all departments to elevate and help resolve concerns. Veterans concerns should be submitted via email by visiting For faster responses, please complete the electronic form and provide your email address. If you are a Veteran with an urgent medical concern, call 911 or visit the Emergency Department at the Wilmington VA Medical Center.

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Harold Buzgon

Patient Advocate
302-994-2511 x5436/4330

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Tommy Smalls

Patient Advocate
302-994-2511 x5556/5436

Alternatively, you may contact us through e-mail using the VA National Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS).

Additional Contacts

For a listing of additional contacts, please visit our phone directory.

Minority Veterans Program

Claudette Persaud is the Minority Veterans Program Coordinator (MVPC). Her phone number is 1-800-461-8262, ext. 4825. The program's goal is increasing awareness of minority Veterans' issues and developing strategies for increasing participation in VA programs. MVPCs are located at VA Regional Office, VA Medical Centers and National Cemeteries. They are responsible for:

  • Promoting VA benefits, programs, and services to minority Veterans.
  • Starting and supporting activities educating and sensitizing staff to minority Veterans' unique needs.
  • Targeting outreach efforts to minority Veterans through community networks.
  • Advocating for minority Veterans by identifying gaps in services and helping improve service delivery.

Former Prisoner of War (FPOW) Advocate

Who are Former Prisoners of War?
Since World War I, more than 142,000 Americans, including 85 women, have been captured and interned as POWs. Not included in this figure are nearly 93,000 Americans who were lost or never recovered. Only one fifth of America's former POWs since World War I are still living (about 22,641). More than 90% of living former POWs were captured and interned during World War II. About 15,367 former POWs are in receipt of compensation for service-connected injuries, diseases, or illnesses.

In 1981, Congress passed Public Law 97-37 entitled "Former Prisoners of War Benefit Act." This law accomplished several things. It established an Advisory Committee on Former Prisoners of War and mandated medical and dental care. It also identified certain diagnoses as presumptive service-connected conditions for former POWs. Subsequent public laws and policy decisions by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs have added additional diagnoses to the list of presumptive conditions.

How Should a Former POW Apply for VA Compensation?
Former POWs can apply for compensation for their service-connected injuries, diseases, or illnesses by completing VA Form 21-526, Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension. They can also apply online at

For more information, contact Christine O'Donnell, FPOW Advocate at (800) 461-8262, ext. 4248.