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Letter: VA health care system has failed many veterans

VA health care system has failed many veterans

Bill McKibben’s Sept. 25 Viewpoints article advocating that America needs to adopt the Department of Veterans Affairs’ prevention-based approach to health care to improve patient outcomes was a shameful attempt to gloss over the VA’s horrendous treatment of the brave men and women who have served our country.

For years, the VA has failed to provide timely health care to veterans by inaccurately recording the required dates for medical appointments and inconsistently tracking new patients waiting for outpatient appointments. In some cases, the delays in care or the VA’s failure to provide care at all have resulted in harm to veterans and even deaths.

In his opinion piece, McKibben complained that the VA health care system is “America’s favorite political football.” The fact is the VA’s status as a punching bag is well-deserved due to its bad performance managing veterans’ applications for health care benefits and scheduling patients for appointments.

While a recent survey conducted by the Joint Commission revealed that the VA is making progress in improving access to health care for veterans, it found that many VA organizations continue to face challenges in providing patient appointments in 30 days.

McKibben boasts that the VA operates the nation’s largest integrated health care delivery system. But bigger is not better. To recommend that our country model health care on the VA is outrageous. Our veterans deserve better than secret waiting lists and shoddy care that lets them fall through the cracks. And so do the rest of our citizens.

Greg Slabodkin

Buffalo

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