Pa. military veterans press for more reforms at VA
witf.org, | 06.26.14
Stories about backlogs at Veterans Affairs medical facilities may have slid out of the headlines, but to some Pennsylvania veterans, more needs to be done.
At the state VFW conference in Lancaster, Russell Canaveri, the state Commander for the Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars, says the VA has made progress in the past couple weeks.
However, he says for veterans already in the system, it can still take up to a year or more to get specific cases reviewed.
That's not a new issue.
Photo by Ben Allen/WITF
Pennsylvania VFW State Commander Russell Canaveri says politicians on both sides must act, not just promise.
A past Commander in Chief of the VFW says the organization has been pressing VA staff and lawmakers since the 1970's.
Canaveri says he hopes politicians' interest in the topic means significant changes.
"We requested the Governor to speak prior to this problems were having at the VA, and both Senators, and they weren't very receptive. Since then, I can tell you point blank, Senator Casey's coming, and the Governor's coming."
A spokesperson in Senator Casey's says he's been a leader since the controversy, while Senator Toomey's office says he attended a May 30th roundtable at the headquarters of the American Legion, and goes to events like that because of the give and take.
John Moon, a past Commander in Chief of the VFW, says the complaints aren't new, the attention is.
"Somebody finally opened their eyes to the problem. This has been an ongoing sad situation, I can go back to the 1970's as to when the calls were made that we have such a backlog, we need help, we need help.
He and Canaveri say more caseworkers are immediately needed, and then the VA and Congress should consider structural changes.
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, a veteran himself, resigned after revelations of veterans dying waiting for care, and the House and Senate have both passed legislation adding accountability and funding to the V-A.
Published in Healthcare Transformation