Monday, September 26, 2022
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Veterans Affairs audit exposes Hawaii’s ‘infuriating’ wait list
By Malia Zimmerman @ 4:20 AM :: 4464 Views :: Health Care, Military

Veterans Affairs audit exposes Hawaii’s ‘infuriating’ wait list

 GABBARD: U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard talks with veterans about their frustration over lack of access to health care.

by Malia Zimmerman,, June 11, 2014 

HONOLULU — Veterans seeking care at the VA Medical Center here wait an average of 145 days.

Maybe more striking, some 64,000 veterans enrolled in the system for at least 10 years have yet to see a doctor, says a Department of Veterans Affairs audit released Monday

Even before the audit, said Willes Lee, a West Point graduate, the problems for veterans in getting medical care were obvious.

“We didn’t need an audit to tell veterans and their families that they are being abused, abandoned and discarded. … Hawaii liberals in Congress and the state Capitol have failed us. They didn’t know? C’mon. This is disgusting,” Lee said.

Tito Montes, a former Naval officer who leads the Hawaii Republican Assembly political group, called the treatment of veterans “abominable.” He agreed with others that it’s time for privatization of the system. He also noted the VA’s failed delivery of health care to veterans doesn’t bode well for Obamacare.

“Aside from the human tragedy, these terrible outcomes serve as a large wake-up call and accurate forecast of what is to come with Obamacare. If bureaucracy cannot take care of our veteran population, how can the government do it for the whole country?”

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, a military veteran who served two tours in the Middle East, called the treatment of veterans in Honolulu “infuriating and deeply disappointing.”

Gabbard spent last week on a “Veterans Listening Tour.”

“Some came with tears streaming down their face, as they begged for someone to please help them. It makes me sick knowing that our returned warriors are subject to begging for care when they come home,” Gabbard said.

Nationally, nearly 64,000 new veterans have asked for appointments at 1,700 hospitals and clinics, though no appointments were scheduled.

Gabbard last week wrote President Obama, asking him to use his executive authority to immediately allow veterans to access private health care.

 SPEAKING UP: Veterans voice their concerns over problems with the VA in Hawaii at U.S. Rep. Gabbard’s listening tour.

“Our veterans should not have to wait another day to get the care they have earned and deserve. They must not be told to wait for the VA to be fixed,” Gabbard said.

Gabbard, who is drafting legislation to give veterans the right to obtain private medical care as a temporary solution, has launched a campaign to get local veterans to fill out an online form or call — 808-541-1986 — if they have been treated unfairly.

Former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, a Hawaii Republican and Afghan war veteran who served on the House Armed Services Committee, said he, too, has waited for VA services.

“Long term, we should allow all vets the option to access private health care facilities using the veterans benefits they earned, instead of forcing vets to use government-mandated VA institutions,” Djou said.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said the House will pass a measure this week allowing veterans to seek private care at VA expense if they must wait 30 days or more to be seen by a doctor.

The VA, meanwhile, said the agency will discard its goal to schedule appointments within two weeks because it’s “not attainable,” but it will implement an emergency plan to get medical care to veterans by hiring temporary staff, extending clinic hours, referring patients to private care, and restoring its mobile medical units in some critical areas.

The controversial bonus system that set off a firestorm across the country will be suspended, as will hiring  more bureaucrats at its headquarters.

AP file photo AP file photo

U.S. Rep Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, says the U.S. Senate moved too slowly to approve new veterans facility in Hawaii.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said he is supporting the bipartisan legislation that makes the VA more accountable and improves access for veterans by allowing the VA to redistribute $500 million in unspent money for new doctors and nurses and widen the health-care provider network to reduce wait times for veterans.

Specifically for Hawaii, Schatz said the bill also authorizes a $15.88 million lease for the Advance Leeward Outpatient Healthcare Access Center on Oahu’s Ewa Plain, doubling the VA’s existing clinical capacity on Oahu.



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Life Alliance

Hawaii March for Life 

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii