More than a year after a scandal broke over U.S. military veterans enduring extremely long waits to see doctors at clinics run by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), things have actually gone from bad to worse.
The number of cases in which appointments took 30 or more days to happen has increased by 67 percent in the past year, despite more money and more staff dedicated to the VA.
Jim Hudson, an Army veteran from California who served on the front lines during the Vietnam War, has spent most of his post-war life advocating for other disabled veterans. But he still has to be his own advocate just to get the healthcare he’s owed by the VA.
Hudson, 66, spent 14 years in the military. He has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other service-related psychiatric issues.
Yet, he still has to wait six months just to see a VA psychiatrist.
I don’t have any idea if or when they’ll come through with the surgery appointment. The pain is horrible. VA is still a mess.
“I have PTSD, anxiety, and depressive disorders, and several other issues,” Hudson told Healthline. “I’m on multiple medications. Six months is far too long to wait.”
Mark Trifeletti, a Gulf War veteran from New York, is in the same boat. Trifeletti suffers from chronic pain, and has been waiting more than three months for emergency surgery to fix a device surgically implanted at the base of his spine that was meant to give him some relief.
“I don’t have any idea if or when they’ll come through with the surgery appointment,” he said. “The pain is horrible. VA is still a mess.”