health care

The Veterans Administration got $2.5 billion to add more doctors, nurses and other staff. An NPR investigation finds that total staff didn't rise much more than it might have without that money. We examine reasons why it's hard to bring new medical personnel into the VA, including a cumbersome hiring process.

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.

American Homefront reporter Jay Price talks with WUNC's Frank Stasio about the potential dangers of burn pits, which were commonly used to dispose of trash at U.S. bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. Price, who spent time at several of the bases as a journalist, explains that burn pits were among many things that polluted the air in war zones.

Patricia Murphy joins host John Hockenberry on PRI's "The Takeway." They talk about her coverage of the VA's "Choice Card" program, which is falling short of its goals of providing timely health care to rural vets.