BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Stories are coming in from veterans across the country alleging long waits and inadequate care. What action, if any, is being taken in Mississippi to fix these issues? The men and women who fought for our freedom may have to start fighting for their health.
The VA system is beginning to show cracks in its foundation when it comes to healthcare, but, for some veterans, the system is right on target.
"I go there every six months for wellness checkups and I haven't had a problem," said Skip Klinger.
Klinger retired as a Chief Master Sgt. for the Air Force in 1995. He said his care at the Biloxi VA hasn't given him any issues, but he has seen the changes in the system over the years.
"I think it's disgraceful that our veterans got treated like that, just maybe because of the over-crowdedness. Now, I'm not sure why," said Klinger.
Klinger, along with most of the veterans at the VFW 6731 post in D'Iberville, blames the problems on too much paperwork and not enough care to go around. Having a military background, some of these veterans say this bureaucracy and red tape just comes with the territory.
Roy McAlexander applied for the VA system in Georgia in 2003, but wasn't approved until 2006. He says he now gets his care at the hospital on Keesler Air Force Base.
"I understand that there's people who are taught, hey, we don't want to spend money. So, hey, you delay it, you delay it," said McAlexander.
That's no excuse for the widespread issues according to McAlexander. He and other veterans may get a chance to have their voices heard.
Rep. Steven Palazzo is holding a public forum at the VFW on Veterans Boulevard in Biloxi this week. Palazzo will discuss the deep rooted issues of this federal health system and how he plans to address them. That is good news to McAlexander.
"I'm concerned with it, and I'm glad that it's coming to light," said McAlexander.
Palazzo has two forums this week where veterans can share their stories and insight into treatment. One is on Monday at the Hattiesburg VFW from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The other is Tuesday at the Biloxi VFW on Veterans Avenue from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.