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Report: Number of Veterans waiting for care continues to grow

The number of veterans in the U.S. waiting for care is up 50 percent since the Veteran’s Affairs scandal in Arizona that led to national outrage just one year ago.

In a Washington Post report, the VA said it’s seeing a growing demand from veterans and a $2.6 billion budget shortfall.

VA officials said because of that shortfall, they may be forced into a hiring freeze or furloughs.

Some lawmakers said despite the VA receiving $15 billion from the government to reduce wait times, the organization is run so poorly it can’t manage its resources to help veterans.

In an emailed statement to ABC 17 News, Senator Roy Blunt said, “This is completely unacceptable. This is yet another appalling example of the VA and the Administration not getting it right for our veterans.”

To find out how local veterans feel about the latest report, ABC 17 News went to the VFW post in Columbia and talked with several veterans there about the care they receive.

Vietnam Veteran Dannie Weddle said while the problems some VA hospitals in the country are troubling, he thinks Truman VA is probably one of the best veterans hospitals in the area.

He told ABC 17 News he has never had any problems making an appointment at Truman VA and said wait times have never been an issue for him.

“I’ve had nothing but positive remarks to say about it since then,” Weddle said.

It’s a similar story for Veteran Donald Briggs.

“We never really did have a problem here that was as bad as they did at other hospitals,” Briggs said.

He said he thinks most of the problems other hospitals are experiencing fall on the administration and not the doctors.

“They know when they’ve got a problem,” Briggs said. “It’s getting something done about the problem that’s the problem.”

VA officials told the Washington Post the reason for these growing wait times is because of more aging Vietnam Veterans seeking care and younger veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The organization also said there’s a growing demand for more costly treatments.

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