VA Scandal Prompts Closer Look At VA Health Care Around Nation
News outlets examine wait times and poor service at clinics in North Carolina, Colorado and Minnesota.
Los Angeles Times: Mental Health Care Found Wanting At North Carolina VA Hospital
Andrew Danecki, a Marine Corps veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan, suffers from sleep apnea that left him nodding off on the sofa and behind the wheel of his car. He said he waited eight months to get a sleep study performed at the Durham VA Medical Center. Dennis Hunter, a Vietnam-era Army veteran, waited several months for an orthopedic appointment for knee and back injuries that require him to use a wheelchair. The Durham VA Medical Center had the longest average wait time for new patient mental health appointments -- 104 days -- in a nationwide audit of veterans' health care facilities released this month. The hospital also had the nation's seventh worst average wait times for new patient specialist care appointments: 69 days (Zucchino, 6/16).
Denver Post: Colorado Representative Requests Investigation Of VA's Treatment Of A Denver Veteran
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman has asked the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate the agency's treatment of a Denver veteran. Coffman requested the investigation after a VA spokesman characterized the veteran, who complained about his medical care, as mentally ill (Olinger, 6/16).
The Star Tribune: Minnesota Vets Complain Of Poor Service At VA Clinic
The 6-inch scar running down the middle of Lonnie Lee’s chest is one sign that all might not be well at the Veterans Affairs clinic here. Lee, a 65-year-old Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, wears the scar as a badge of honor. He had to wait five months for open heart surgery and said he endured a circuitous ordeal of mixed signals, runarounds and missed cues to get it. Veterans like Lee and their advocates contend that problems began at the clinic last year, when the VA hired a new company, Cincinnati-based Sterling Medical Associates, to run it. The complaints about the clinic, located in an old storefront on the outskirts of town, resemble problems evident at VA medical facilities across the country (Brunswick, 6/17).