Missouri’s top veterans official says the Veterans Administration is in crisis again.
Executive director Hal Dulle of the state veterans commission says too many veterans have to wait too long to be accepted in the Veterans Administration system and then have to wait too long to get the medical help they need.
He says, his office works to get veterans to file for their benefits but the VA lacks the personnel to handle the paperwork efficiently. Dulle says the system isn’t broken. He says it just doesn’t have enough people to handle the increased number of veterans applying for services. The heavy burden is caused by an influx of Gulf war veterans seeking benefits at the same time many Vietnam veterans have decided after 40 years of not being involved…to sign up.
But once the paperwork is processed and the veteran is in the system—-there’s a lack of doctors. Dulle says part of that problem is that the VA has limited funds…and in a competitive world, the VA has trouble paying enough to keep the specialists the veterans want to see from going into private practice.
Dulle thinks the VA needs to contract for outside doctors, or with state healthcare programs, to provide services until the organization is caught up. He says some of his colleagues disagree, though, and want the VA to stay an integrated network with its own employees.