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Medical care elusive for some veterans with war-related injuries

Our veterans deserve the best health care our country can provide. Unfortunately, many veterans with war-related injuries -- severe injuries -- are not receiving the timely medical and mental health care they need.

A survey was recently completed by the Wounded Warrior Project. This organization helps veterans who are severely injured get through the red tape so they can receive care from the Veterans Affairs health care system. The survey may not be a complete reflection of the entire veteran's population, but it did provide a look into the lives of 21,120 veterans who have suffered injuries or illness since they joined the military.

The survey results are clear: Veterans are most frustrated with trying to access VA health care services. Almost 40 percent of the survey participants said that getting medical care from the VA was difficult. Thirty-five percent reported that in the last year, they have had problems getting mental health services.

Many veterans simply walk away from VA health care because the wait times are so long. When coupled with the difficulties experienced in trying to get medical care, many veterans feels that it is simply not worth the time. Unfortunately, some of the veterans will not try to access the VA health care system again because of all the obstacles to care.

Other results of the survey indicate that many of our veterans have emotional and health problems. About 80 percent of those surveys have three or more conditions that are service-related. Twenty-eight percent avoid mental health care because of the stigma often attached to it. Over half experience appetite problems. Sleep problems were reported by around 40 percent and another 20 percent reported alcohol abuse.

When a Minnesota veteran is denied medical care or has a disability claim denied, help can be found in an attorney experienced in veterans' issues. Our veterans should not suffer because of bureaucratic obstacles.

Source: Army Times, "Survey: 40 percent of wounded face problems getting VA care" Leo Shane III and Patricia Kime, Sep. 10, 2014

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