The Veterans Choice program is a $10 billion dollar initiative that was created in order to cut back on the dangerous wait times that were claiming veteran’s lives. However many critics for the program claim that backlogs for veteran’s health care have not been reduced at all!
The program was signed into existence two years ago in order to fix the clogged system that was endangering veteran’s lives. The Veterans Choice program was also supposed to allow veterans that lived in rural regions easy access to local private hospitals and clinics so that they could avoid long drives to VA facilities located in urban areas.
However this is not the case.
Multiple facilities have reported that the Veterans Choice program is incredibly slow to pay its bills and has become a financial burden for these facilities. One facility in particular is a clinic in Missoula known as Missoula Bone and Joint. This facility has completely stopped taking all Veterans Choice patients earlier this year.
Rich Unger is one of the many veterans that is absolutely fed up with the veterans choice program.
“I find them very inept,” Unger said. “They don’t care about the veteran.”
Unger is a Vietnam veteran who came home suffering from foot problems, knee problems, and PTSD. He is completely disabled and still is unable to get the proper healthcare that he needs.
“When it takes seven months and you haven’t gotten an X-ray for your hand and you are in pain and you have to go pay for your own physical therapy, that’s not a choice,” Unger said. He now pays out of pocket instead of waiting for Veterans Choice.
Unfortunately there are countless others that are in Unger’s same situation.
Veteran Frank Krajewski claims that Veterans Choice delayed his much needed surgery. In his case, Veteran’s Choice took up to a full year to pay just three of his bills and he was taken to collections. Like many others, Krajewski was forced to buy his own insurance policy in order to get the healthcare he desperately needed.