Skip to comments.Veteran Tells of Long VA Waits, Substandard Care
Posted on 05/24/2014 3:44:26 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Veteran James Root says he has to wait two months for a desperately needed dermatology appointment
NBC 7's Omari Fleming speaks with San Diego-based military veteran James Root, who says he's getting "substandard" care from the local VA hospital. San Diego Vet Gets Substandard Care at VA LINK E Service medals and pictures on his wall make Retired Petty Officer James Root look like a real life G.I. Joe.
From his Combat Action Ribbon showing courage under fire, to the numerous medals he earned during his 20 years in the U.S. Navy, Root proved himself to be an American hero.
This shows youve been in a combat zone and engaged with the enemy, explained James Root as he pointed at the honor above his fireplace. But now, he is setting his sights on another battle -- this time with the Veterans Administration San Diego Health Care System. He claims he is not getting the timely medical attention he so desperately needs. Officer-Involved Shooting Shuts Down Border Crossing
His allegations come amid a growing scandal within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs over delayed and substandard care at its facilities. Fighting in four tours of duty including Desert Storm and Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom has cost the 47-year-old Root. He suffers from PTSD, severe back problems, a possible cancerous growth on his lip and what he and his wife call the VAs misdiagnosis of warts on his knuckles.
They hurt, Root said, looking down at the warts. You want to just cut them off.
He said hes tried to do just that with a razor blade. In early May, Root tried to get an immediate appointment with a dermatologist for the problem. The closest appointment he could get was on July 15.
Calif. Shooting Rampage: Video Promised "Retribution" When asked if hes getting a heros treatment these days, Root said, No, its substandard.
He and his wife Diana are now in a constant battle with the VA over timely treatment.
My worst fear is hes not going to get the help, said Diana.
The San Diego VA Medical director said theyve been recognized by their accrediting body as a top performing institution.
We try to see most patients within a 14-day period, but thats not always possible. Specialty services like dermatology arent always able to get immediate appointments, the director said in a phone interview with NBC 7.
According to officials, the San Diego VA sees about 75,000 patients a year.
As for Root and his wife, Diana said she only had time to take her husband to appointments on Fridays because shes become the familys breadwinner, since his PTSD wont allow him to work.
Veterans, they go to serve their country, but when they come back, their country dont serve them, said Root.
The scandal embroiling VA facilities across the country was prompted when a whistleblower alleged that as many as 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments in a VA hospital in Phoenix, NBC News reported.
The fallout has led to the resignation the departments Undersecretary Robert Petzel on May 16.
Some lawmakers have also called for the ouster of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.
Ollie North hit the nail on the head when he said,”Washington doesn’t give a damn.” They don’t and won’t until their fat cat positions are threatened and taken away from them, lock stock and pension!
“Washinton doesn’t give a damn.”It’s up to us to force them to give a damn,no matter what it takes.
Dermatology is one of the toughest appointments to get even outside the VA, hate to break it to the soldier. But I feel his pain, I get tired of the wait times.
Yeah, they could have pulled a better example than this guy. If he is retired and has these issues, he is doing alright on the money front, maybe not California alright but I dont think they are really hurting for money.
My thoughts exactly...I’m retired Air Force; between TriCare and insurance from my current employer, I avoid the VA at all costs. The current scandal is only the latest in the long history of the VA, which has a long history of sub-standard care for the nation’s vets.
I can’t imagine why—as a Navy retiree—the former Petty Officer isn’t utilizing other healthcare options.
I, for a fact know that the VA in Phoenix has been poor service for the vets since back in the 80s. My mother’s second husband had to go there and complained about waiting times back then. I’ve had patients for years in our hospitals (not va connected) who are veterans who say they couldn’t be seen and that is why they come to other hospitals.
It’s a long time thing. If they are going to try and pin it on this admin they will be discovered to be incorrect. It has been going on for at least 20 years.
“The San Diego VA Medical director said theyve been recognized by their accrediting body as a top performing institution.”
Therein lies the problem you f****** idiot. This guy needs to be dragged into the street and horsewhipped.
I knew back then the VA wasn't worth a damn. And yep, nothing's changed; cept maybe for the worser.
Va health care has changed dramatically since they put the boys picture on the wall, more like it was in the 80s it had improved but a HUGE change since that time.
-— I got out 23 years ago.
I knew back then the VA wasn’t worth a damn. And yep, nothing’s changed; cept maybe for the worser. -—
I forget what triggered this “breaking news” a few weeks ago. Does anyone remember? What’s newsworthy now is the fact that Zippy has exposed the fact that he doesn’t give a damn.
The problem is the Administration promised point blank that that was their primary goal to fix this specific problem, instead it has most definitely gotten worse. And believe me on that at Phoenix, its my VA Hospital for care for the past decade.
Well, then I hope they can prove it and nail those responsible.
the vets can’t wait for things to be ‘fixed.
They need to pass an emergency bill RIGHT now that allows vets to go to their local hospitals and the bills paid by the VA =
We need to scream at our reps AND the media until somebody does this
Don’t re-elect them...Then they’ll give a damn...”Just Damn!” (better than nothing)
It is also harder to tell someone to get rid of their trash, before you take yours out...
Everyone else thinks their trash doesn’t stink...
So you kinda see where this is going, or not going???
“They need to pass an emergency bill RIGHT now that allows vets to go to their local hospitals and the bills paid by the VA =”
They already do that and they’re notorious for being late in making payments. They just say we’re out of money!
Yes,even with “Cadillac” insurance, I can’t get dermatology appointments in less than 4/6 weeks,if I am lucky. It took me over 4 weeks to get a GI appt when I was dealing with the after effects of a superbug that almost killed me. Specialists are hard to come by in civilian life, too. Obamacare is making it worse.
BTW, did anyone catch the information about how Congress had passed legislation/regulation/authorization for the VA to allow Veterans, during a time of backlog to allow Veterans to seek healthcare treatments at private hospitals and doctors not in the VA network???
And that the VA to this day has not notified Veterans during this time of this provision???
Now, Shinseki needs to go, that provision should have been the first thing out of his trap the other day...
It should have been the first thing out of the yap of Obama even after his obfuscation till he mentioned it the other day in his presser...
Just my opinion...