When executives from the Phoenix VA came to Show Low last week they told veterans the system is getting better. However, vets at this event told a very different story: American veterans aid complaints run high. They’re fed up with long waits for appointments and the long drives to the Valley to get care when there are qualified local physicians who could see them.
One veteran of the Korean War has been trying to get help for the pain in his arm without success. He waited for more than a month for an appointment and when he did get seen the healthcare professional did nothing more than poke his arm and say he needed surgery.
He saw another person at the Show Low VA who told him he needed an MRI before he could recommend anything, including surgery. Later he was told he needed physical therapy. To this day he has pain in his arm. He is now fed up with the VA and says he wants nothing from them anymore.
Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. American Veterans complaints about benefits, aid and healthcare are rampant. Released Monday, the Government Accountability Office’s review of appointment wait times for patients new to VA health care found that veterans wait three to eight weeks for medical appointments. Others could not see a primary care doctor at all because VA staff did not handle the appointments correctly, the report GAO report says.
All VHA employees now have a set of foundational principles called “MyVA Access Declaration,” to guide them to providing timely care to former service members..
“A year from now we will not be having this discussion on wait times,” said VA Undersecretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin.
Not everyone agrees – “You paint too rosy a picture,” Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., told Shulkin. “The system is broken. The people in my district are frustrated and angry.”
There is no doubt that American Veterans aid complaints need to be addressed and access to healthcare needs to be improved.