JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Imperfect is what congressional leaders call the VA system. This after audits and investigations revealed secret waiting lists and altered patient appointments all being carried out at Veterans Affairs facilities all over the country and even close to home. Lake City was one of 81 sites flagged in the audit. Flaws and all, U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown has been quoted saying we're doing fine in Florida.
“I went and talked to various VA groups in Florida and not one single complaint because we are doing our job,” Brown said.
That was back in May. However, we heard a different tune Tuesday at a town hall meeting at the Five Star Veterans Center.
“There are always complaints in the system but the point is we're not going to do away with the system because of the complaints. We're going to improve the system,” said Brown.
More than a dozen of those complaints or concerns were voiced Tuesday; everything from the GI Bill and co-pays to over-medicating veterans and long wait times.
The most talked about issue was disability claims processing.
“How many of you have a claim over two years old? There you go,” said U.S. Jeff Miller, chairman of Veteran Affairs.
It’s an issue Kevin Nesbitt has been dealing with since 1995.
“A veteran, he has so much time to appeal. The paperwork gets jumbled around to where the paperwork to appeal gets out of the timeframe,” said Nesbitt.
He says he is still trying to cut through the red tape but is glad to see action.
“It’s good that it’s starting to come out and people are noticing,” said Nesbitt.
Nesbitt and other veterans were able to get some one-on-one time with their congressional leaders about their issues and for some, they’re getting pointed in the right direction to expedite this grueling process.
Action News has learned that right now another VA audit is being done, one that’s more complete and independent.
Leaders say they want the truth and hope the findings from this will reveal that.