ALBANY, NY – Long wait times, backlogs and cancelled appointments – that’s what many veterans are experiencing from the Department of Veterans Affrairs.
Veterans like Josh Nicolson are demanding better healthcare from the Department of Veteran Affairs.
“It’s happening every day. I’m just one veteran of millions that are dealing with this issue,” says Nicolson.
The Iraq war veteran says his injuries need immediate care.
“I have wounds in my face, back injuries, neck injuries from stuff that happened over there,” says Nicolson.
Nicolson joined his fellow veterans out of the White House Wednesday calling for a change.
These protesters say since the start of the pandemic the VA has cancelled or delayed nearly 20 million appointments and leaving many veterans still waiting for care.
“Delayed care is extremely dangerous and it’s about speed. Let’s get folks to help they need as quickly as we can,” says Russ Duerstine with Concerned Veterans For America.
Duerstein is worried that delayed care could cost lives.
“Our suicide rates from PTSD are climbing,” says Duerstine.
3 years ago, Congress passed legislation allowing vets to receive care outside of VA facilities, but Nicolson says that’s not the worst case for him.
“Denied paying my emergency care when I’m not able to make it to Veterans Affairs. Emergency Room,” he says.
The group of veterans is also calling for a freeze on senior VA officials’ bonuses until the appointment backlog reaches zero.