Colorado responds to the VA internal audit
June 10, 2014
Craig — 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."
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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.