Veterans Administration

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald testifies before a Senate committee in January 2016 on the VA's efforts to streamline the disability appeals process.
CSPAN

Veterans with denied disability claims wait an average of four to five years for appeals hearings. The VA predicts the delay will get worse if Congress doesn't streamline the process.

Navy Nurse Anesthetist Christine Maclan hangs an intravenous drip while preparing the operating room for surgery. While nurse anesthetists can work independently in the military, they must work under a doctor's supervision at the V.A.
James R. Evans / U.S. Navy

The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to allow specially trained nurses to do some things that doctors do now. That might reduce wait times for patients, but some doctors say it would worsen care for 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. 

Local Veterans Affairs officials met with reporters this week to talk about some of the steps they're taking to improve accessibility and quality of care for veterans. 

One of the Seattle VA's new initiatives is to help veterans deal with chronic pain -- a problem that can often lead to opiate dependence and addiction. Another critical initiative addresses the 11 percent growth in VA Puget Sound's patient load. 


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.

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.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Thor Ringler of the Department of Veterans Affairs interviews Korean War veteran Darrell Krenz for the 'My Life, My Story' project.
Department of Veterans Affairs

An initiative at several veterans hospitals adds something new to patients' medical records: their life stories.

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald speaks at an event at UCLA, asking landlords to offer leases to homeless veterans.
John Ismay / American Homefront

Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald was in Los Angeles with a mission: convince area landlords to rent apartments to homeless military veterans.

Clay Hull has a stubborn sense of justice.

After an improvised explosive device blast in Iraq ended his time in the military, he fought the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs over the amount of compensation they awarded him for his injuries.

"If I'm in the wrong, I'll admit it. But I'm not going to let somebody just push me around, especially the VA," he says.

It was complicated and drawn out, but Hull now gets the maximum the VA pays for disability.

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