Letter: Veterans deserve best possible health care

From: Pamela Weiss


Patriotic citizens should be alarmed by the Associated Press story “VA’s Problems Mount” in the July 18 Republic.

As my family commemorates the military retirement of my husband, Lt. Col. Robert Weiss, we should be looking forward to benefits well earned. However, experience has forced me to have low expectations of any federally provided veteran medical services.

The news that the VA may shut down some hospitals next month due to fiscal-year budget shortfalls brings back bad memories of a similar time in 1992 when we were stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, and veterans were being kicked out of the hospital and military dependents (spouses and kids) could not get medical appointments. To add insult to injury, patients could not get their medical records without a commander’s orders to take to other medical providers.

When we were stationed at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, I couldn’t get a single dental appointment in 2½ years. Worse yet was what happened the day I delivered my first child there. I was turned away by the German hospital the military had told me to utilize, then turned away by the military hospital and left to beg another unknown German hospital to take me in.

My veteran friends share stories of having to drive two hours for VA care, long delays getting appointments and being unable to get follow-up care. It is a travesty that we now provide better medical care to low-income families than veterans.

The culture of neglect and mismanagement in the VA must be addressed to honor the service of military veterans and their families. Timely access to quality medical care should be a reliable part of veteran benefits.