Demand Change - The Missourian: Opinion

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Demand Change

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Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2014 6:00 pm

We’re not of the mindset that our federal government is totally hapless or inept. But we recognize more and more Americans are losing confidence in our elected officials and the bureaucrats who run our government.

It is easy to lose faith when scandals occur of the magnitude of what’s happening at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

When the waiting-list scandal erupted this spring after investigations revealed that VA employees were systematically hiding the requests of some 57,000 veterans, we were, like most Americans, appalled. It is inexcusable that veterans seeking specialist care were waiting an average of 86 days to see a specialist.

This week it was reported that internal audits also revealed that the VA is systematically overpaying clerks, administrators and other support staff, diverting millions of dollars that could be used to address the agency’s acute shortage of doctors and nurses.

It’s easy to perceive the VA as just another unaccountable government bureaucracy that has lost its way.

What we also recognize that when it comes to the VA, reforms and real change is not likely to occur from within. It’s going to require cleaning house of all senior VA leadership and pressure from outside groups. It’s going to require every veteran and, indeed, every American, to demand change.

That’s why we want to pass along information regarding an effort by the American Legion to improve the situation in this area.

Members of The American Legion’s System Worth Saving Task Force will hold a town hall meeting and operate a crisis center for local veterans and family members affected by delays in getting access to their health care at the VA St. Louis Health Care System.

The town hall meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. this Monday, July 14, at the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, 1315 Chestnut St., St Louis. The meeting is open to the general public, and local veterans are encouraged to attend — especially those affected by wait-time delays.

We encourage veterans from this area who may have been impacted by the delays to attend this meeting and make their voices heard.

/opinion

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