Colorado responds to the VA internal audit

— An internal audit of the Department of Veterans Affairs revealed that more than 57,000 vets have been waiting more than 90 days for a VA appointment. Even more, 64,000, never even got an appointment.

The audit has resulted in calls for an improvement in the system.

“The findings of the VA’s internal audit are an outrage and reflect what I have heard firsthand from constituents across the district — that there are many veterans in this nation experiencing ridiculous wait times to receive the healthcare they need, and some are falling through the cracks altogether,” Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., said in a statement. “It is deeply troubling that ailing vets have been forced to wait so long to receive the care they were promised or discarded altogether, enduring additional pain and suffering and even losing their lives as a result. The problems facing the VA are systemic and need to be addressed immediately.”

Three percent of veterans who used the Grand Junction VA office had to wait more than 30 days for an appointment. This percentage is lower than the national average, which was 4 percent.

Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe said the government needs to step up and take care of its veterans.

“For the government to let that happen is wrong,” he said. “It ought to be investigated to find out what’s going on.”

Mark Wick, a member of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, said he hasn’t run into issues with the VA.

“Personally, I’ve had a great experience with the VA. I’ve been with the VA in Grand Junction, and everything has been positive, friendly and professional,” Wick said. “Northwest Colorado is being taken care of admirably by the VA in my opinion.”

But that was just his personal takeaway, he said.

“I don’t know what it’s like in other towns,” Wick said.

Tipton said he wanted to be a part of stepping up the VA’s accountability.

“I encourage constituents experiencing issues with the VA to please contact my office,” he said in a statement. “We will do everything we can to help and have been able to assist hundreds of veterans in the 3rd District with their VA claims in the past.”

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.

Comments

dennis collins 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I sure don't know what all this v.a. stuff is about, seems like all the sudden it has come to light and don't sound too good. please allow me to tell you my personal experience with the grand junction v.a. hospital and the v.a. system.

around 8 years ago I came into the v.a. hospital wanting to see what they could do about the constant ringing in my ears. in 10 days I was I the audiology clinic getting a hearing test. working on airplanes for 6 years had taken its toll on my hearing. after my hearing was addressed I was told I could now use the v.a. hospital for all my medical needs. I called to set an appointment for a physical and was back in a week to see the dr. in the process of the exam it was discovered that I had throat cancer. all I can say about the v.a. is had it not been for their immediate response I wouldn't have made it. I was told that I would not live more than 30 days without immediate treatment. they moved so fast and hard that at one time we asked them to slow down a bit on treatment as it was wearing us out. we were told you cannot slow down on aggressive cancer treatment, we were told that the v.a. would pull out all stops to save my life.

the v.a. assigned a local ENT (dr. trowbridge,) and a local oncologist, (dr king) who worked tirelessly to save my life, they even paid a local dentist (dr. gaglioni) to monitor my teeth through the post surgical radiation treatment.

today I am 100% clean and in the best health of my life, thanks to God and the people he used to save my life. so when I hear the v.a. is not taking care of the vets. well I really don't understand that.

I am told that with the huge amount of vets. coming home from the middle east, its hard for the v.a. to keep up and even harder to put on enough doctors to see all of these vets. that's understandable, the funding for v.a. was allocated before al the middle east vets started coming home.

its easy to criticize the v.a., after all they are a government enity. we have an administration that seems less than honest about things and seem to use things like this to take attention away from other situations.

please never think that the v.a. doesn't have the best interest of us vets in mind. I am 66 years old, if they were going to give out selective attention I would be one of the first vets. ignored. and believe me, I ain't. I can see my dr. with as little as an hours notice, and have on many occasions, I even had my p.a. examine me at a rodeo once when I was feeling weak. they are doing their best folks, they need your support. I have no idea whats happening down in Arizona, its a big hospital with thousands of vets. to take care of. I don't believe there are special lists of folks that they don't want to take care of. and I certainly know grand jct. v.a. medical center don't have those lists.

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