veterans

LA VA Wait Times Lag National Average

Jul 18, 2016

In Los Angeles, at the biggest veterans hospital in the country, former service members are waiting too long to get seen for care—something the hospital's new director, Ann Brown, says it's her top priority to fix. 

Brown said her hospital's wait times lag the national average. Veterans in L.A. wait about six days to see a primary care doctor and eight days for a specialist. The national average is about five days for primary care and six for specialists. For mental health care appointments, L.A. wait times lag the nation by 30 percent. 

Dr. Fatma Batuman, medical director of the women's health program, holds 1-month-old Nyia Yvette Cavanagh at the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center. Both of Cavanagh's parents are former Marines.
Maya Sugarman / KPCC

In an agency that was "built for men," VA leaders are working to add health care services for female veterans.

This September the University of Southern California will open a new mental health care clinic aimed at filling gaps in services for military veterans and their families. 

The clinic, part of a $275 million grant from billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen, is expected to open in September as one of 25 such sites planned nationwide. 

The network's director, Anthony Hassan, said the aim is to treat people who fall through the cracks of the Veterans Administration's care. 

Veterans attend a meetup of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America in Seattle.
Patricia Murphy / American Homefront

What does it mean to be a veteran in the 21st century?  For the more than two million former service members who've returned from Afghanistan and Iraq, it can be challenging to transition back into civilian life.

The wait times for VA primary care patients in the Fayetteville area had been among the longest in the country, but have fallen sharply in recent months. VA officials say that a big reason is the massive outpatient health care center they opened in November.

At Cargomatic in Venice Beach, California, Air Force veteran Blake Pickell uses his 'MBV' degree as a senior manager.
John Ismay / American Homefront

The University of Southern California is doing something unique -- offering a college degree called an MBV – a Masters of Business for Veterans.

Seattle students create 'healing garden' for veterans

Jun 12, 2016
Marine veteran Jack Kegley and UW Assistant Professor Jeremy Watson enjoy the new healing garden built by UW students.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

A dull empty space outside Puget Sound VA’s emergency room has been transformed into a serene space for sitting.

County Speeds Up Rent Checks For Homeless Vets

Jun 9, 2016

L.A. County housing officials are crediting a new incentive program with getting previously reticent landlords to lease to homeless veterans in an incredibly tight rental market.

Emilio Salas, L.A. County Housing Authority's deputy executive director, said Wednesday the agency has successfully used up all of its 1,500 federal housing vouchers for homeless veterans.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

When clinical psychiatrist Cher Morrow-Bradley and other health care providers call the Veterans Choice program, they are greeted with a recorded, 90-second "thank you" from Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald.

It's not having the intended effect.

"Why don't you make this easier? The process is so cumbersome, and I have to listen to you thanking me for spending all this time and then I get put on hold," says Morrow-Bradley, adding that she hasn't figured out how to skip the message.

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