Latta hears vets' VA concerns PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER, Sentinel Staff Writer   
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 12:00
Congressman  Bob Latta (R-OH) (left) listens to veterans at the Perrysburg American  Legion in Perrysburg. Latta hosted a veterans conference for those with  concerns over delays within the Department of Veteran Affairs. (J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) (left) listens to veterans at the Perrysburg American Legion in Perrysburg. Latta hosted a veterans conference for those with concerns over delays within the Department of Veteran Affairs. (J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
PERRYSBURG — Veterans who challenge disability decisions can face delays of five years or more.
That’s one reason vets are increasingly critical of the complex system they’re forced to navigate, one administered by the agency embroiled in controversy over its dysfunction.
During a forum at the American Legion this morning, the Department of Veteran Affairs was charged with mismanagement and disdain for those it’s supposed to serve.
U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, listened and pledged to look into the cases of about 20 veterans present, some of whom have clearly grown distrustful of the VA’s ability or willingness to take care of them.
Additional forums were planned today in Findlay and Defiance.
The latest critique of the national administration stems from reports that some administrators created alternate waiting lists to make wait times for health care appear shorter. The officials reportedly had performance bonuses tied to those figures, and as many as 40 veterans died while waiting for care from the Phoenix VA, where reports of wait-list manipulation first surfaced.
“They were cooking the books out there,” Latta said of the VA in Arizona.
Vietnam veteran Gregory Symington voices concerns during a meeting with Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) at the Perrysburg American Legion in Perrysburg. (J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Vietnam veteran Gregory Symington voices concerns during a meeting with Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) at the Perrysburg American Legion in Perrysburg. (J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)

Twenty-six VA departments are now being investigated.
Latta last week sent a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki asking why more patients waiting for critical care aren’t permitted to seek treatment from private providers rather than VA facilities.
“Our nation’s veterans deserve nothing but the highest quality of service and care,” he wrote. “Please inform me why the VA does not permit more non-VA care and treatment to veterans in circumstances that warrant it and what the VA plans to do to ensure veterans are properly cared for at all times.”
President Barack Obama’s administration has since agreed to allow more veterans to get care at private hospitals.
In Perrysburg, one veteran with a history of requiring vision care said he was required to see a doctor first to assess his need before he was allowed to seek an appointment with an optometrist for a new set of glasses.
Another man, Earl Moeller, said he was told by an American Legion representative helping his disability appeal that he should expect to wait five to 10 years before receiving a hearing.
“That’s way, way, way too long,” Latta said, noting that VA delays and concerns have increasingly become a subject of conferences with constituents.
Latta’s district contains 70,000 residents who are veterans, he said.
“These are life-threatening situations in a lot of cases.
“They’ve got to hold people accountable and get this thing moving.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 May 2014 09:56
 

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