Local Veterans Share Concerns About Veteran Affairs System

Local Veterans Share Concerns About Veteran Affairs System

Many local veterans say the VA health care system continues to fail them.
Veterans share with a top official of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs the horror stories of their experiences dealing with the VA.

Many of the veterans tell the state VA Department Secretary they believe the system has failed them over and over again.

Veterans say they defended their country overseas just to come home to a fight with the VA and other government agencies.

Al Sanders, a U.S. Army Veteran, says,"Its an awful feeling to know that we served our country, and here is someone who never did a thing in their life for this country, yet they have the right to decide if we live or die."

Veterans say its impossible to communicate with health care providers at the VA. Many claim the VA employees will not answer the phones. They say it takes months or years to get an appointment with the doctors.

Secretary David LaCerte of the Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs, says,"I've had tons of trouble with the system myself. You know, even as the secretary of the state VA system here in Louisiana, getting a federal VA appointment for myself is troublesome."

Other veterans share that frustration.

"They dont really care about you.They just send you to the back burner and you fade away or you die," adds Sanders. 

All of the veterans are asking for something to be done about the Veteran Affairs' many issues.

Russell Shoemaker, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, says,"We aren't going to get there unless we stand up and tell our government we're tried of it. We're going to get it done one way or the other."

The state VA Secretary says he is collecting information to take to officials in Baton Rouge next Friday. He hopes these stories will inspire reform in the system.

LaCerte says, "We want to go in there with a broad range of experiences from across the state so we can educate our elected officials about whats ailing the VA system."
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