- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 14, 2014

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan

VA issues demand solutions

The unearthing of major issues with our nation’s veterans’ health care system must spur major changes.

It’s not going to blow over. No longer can it be swept under the rug.

Congress has worked this week to pass legislation that would provide more money for VA hospitals. That’s the right move.

A Senate bill, which passed 93-3 on Wednesday, would authorize about $35 billion over three years to pay for outside care for veterans. It would also allow for the hiring of hundreds of doctors and nurses and lease 26 new health facilities in 17 states and Puerto Rico.

The House approved a similar measure earlier in the week with a unanimous vote.

The White House said President Barack Obama supports the Senate bill.

They’re all right. The VA system needs more money, more people and more locations. It’s the only way to fix this badly broken system.

The Veterans Affairs Department released an audit this week showing that more than 57,000 veterans have had to wait at least three months for initial appointments. An additional 64,000 veterans who asked for appointments over the past decade never got them.

In Marion, it was found appointments for 494 patients were never made. A spokeswoman for the Marion VA said that number is not entirely accurate.

Accurate or not, there’s clearly a glitch that needs fixed. The system should not state nearly 500 vets went without care.

The Marion hospital is slated for further review. That’s a good thing.

It’s a major regional hub of veteran care. It’s had well-documented issues in the past. A good, hard look at how things are done there will be to the benefit of our local vets.

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