Last April, the news broke that 40 veterans had died while waiting for medical care from a VA Hospital in Arizona. That provoked a national outcry at long wait times for sick vets.
Congress passed a $16.3 billion law to overhaul the Veterans Affairs Administration, and a crucial aspect of that law is now unfolding in New Hampshire. The idea is for the VA to pay for medical treatment outside the VA system.
Veterans in the North Country should soon find it easier to get medical care with a VA medical clinic in Littleton moving into a larger facility next spring and a new center opening this year in Colebrook.
A 10,000-square foot facility now under construction at the Mt. Eustis Commons on Cottage Street will be about twice as big as the clinic’s current home.
Reports of long wait times and false record-keeping at veterans facilities have rocked the country, leading to the resignations at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and a system-wide audit to get to the root of the problems. We’ll talk with New Hampshire veterans and a top VA official here about how well this state cares for its veterans.
New Hampshire veterans who have been waiting more than three months for an appointment to see a specialist at the Manchester VA Medical Center now have the option of receiving treatment from a non-VA physician.
Staff at the center are in the process of contacting 118 Granite State veterans who are on an “electronic wait list” of former troops who have been unable to see a VA physician in 90 days or less, said Tammy Krueger, director of the Manchester VA Medical Center.
Veterans seeking an appointment at the VA Medical Center in Manchester were able to see a doctor in 30 days or less 98 percent of the time, according to a nationwide audit released today by Department of Veterans Affairs.
But as many as 118 Granite State veterans waited 90 days or more for their first appointment, and 98 former troops who enrolled for treatment in the last decade have yet to see a physician in the VA network.
Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says he'll introduce legislation after the Memorial Day break that will improve accountability at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The comments from the Vermont independent and chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee follow allegations that some Veterans Administration hospitals have been providing substandard care to their patients and falsifying records. Sanders says his legislation would make it easier for a secretary of veterans affairs to remove a senior executive due to poor job performance.
Later this year North Country veterans will no longer have to travel to White River Junction for V.A. medical care: Clinics are now planned for Berlin and Colebrook.
The decision comes after several years of lobbying by the state’s Congressional delegation.
“Our North Country veterans are frequently confronted with travel of more than 130 miles and trips of two to three hours in duration,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Jeanne Shaheen and Representatives Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster wrote the department last year.
After more than a decade of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, American troops are coming home. For many, it’s a wonderful time, to return to family and a normal life. But for veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, the transition is a rough road. In New Hampshire, more a quarter who fought in these wars say they’ve struggled with PTSD, and a fifth with some kind of brain injury.
The backlog of disability claims under review by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has shrunk dramatically since earlier this year. But the VA's offices in New England still have more than 18,000 pending claims.
The Department of Veteran Affairs expects to spend $57 billion in 2013. A significant part of that budget pays for nursing home care for elderly vets. This month, Washington Monthly magazine is exploring American wealth. Editor John Gravois wrote about the V.A. program that follows the foster care model.
After ten years since the War on Terror began, many service members have come back with visible injuries, but many others have come home with less obvious wounds associated with military service; like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and a high suicide rate. We’ll look at these problems, where the system is working and failing, and what some are trying to do to help.