Waiting times to get into VA hospitals are longer than the VA admits, according to the American Legion. Marty Conaster, the membership director for the American Legion in Illinois and former national commander, says there’s a lot of waiting that’s not included in the VA report that came out this week on waiting for services at VA facilities over the last decade.
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“Over 90-day wait, they (the VA) only say 32 in Danville. They’re saying 21 at Jesse Brown. There’s none at Capt. James Lovell. Hines says they only had nine, now we know that one’s a lie, and Marion only had 40. But how many veterans called for an appointment and were told we’re not taking appointments right now, call back in two weeks?” he said.
Conaster says when the VA promised waits of 15 days or less in 2010, that prompted the creation of unofficial waiting lists to get on the official waiting lists. Conaster says veterans don’t want to see the revelations about long wait times and off-the-official-books waiting lists result in the demise of the VA system. He says it’s a system veterans like and that is worth saving, and the American Legion is against replacing it with a voucher system.
However, he says the Legion does support legislation that would provide vouchers for some veterans to access care in private facilities – particularly those who live distant from VA facilities – on a temporary basis for two years to bring down the backlog.