House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, right, and Nevada Rep. Joe Heck field a question Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, after they met with Heck‘s veterans and national security advisory panels at the Brady Industries building in southwest Las Vegas. Keith Rogers/Las Vegas Review-Journal
By Keith Rogers – Las Vegas Review-Journal
Months-long delays for doctors’ appointments at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center and paperwork snarling veterans’ use of VA “choice cards” to see private physicians were among the complaints House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller heard Wednesday.
Miller, R-Fla., who was returning to the East Coast from California, stopped in Las Vegas for a meeting of 40 veterans on advisory panels for Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev. Heck hosts nonpublic sessions quarterly for veterans and local national security observers to speak candidly about their concerns.
“What do I got to do to see a doctor?” asked an Army veteran who suffers from traumatic brain injuries.
He said it took him five months to see a neurologist through the choice program. The program, enacted in 2014, allows veterans who live more than 40 miles from VA facilities or who must wait more than 30 days for a VA appointment the opportunity to seek health care from private-sector physicians who, in turn, will be reimbursed by the VA.
“When I did see the neurologist, it took me longer to fill the paperwork out in his office than it did to treat me,” the veteran said. “He looked at me. He didn’t have correct equipment and needed me to come back to the VA another consult for a different neurologist. Then I would continue to wait for another four months.”
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