Veterans voiced concerns of timely health care resources to Congressmen in Richland

RICHLAND, Wash. — Rep. Dan Newhouse hosted a listening session to allow Central Washington veterans voice their concerns Wednesday night in Richland.

About 20 veterans shared frustration with the lack of timely health care services. The biggest concern among veterans was the new VA hospital electronic record-keeping system.

Many veterans said the new system incorrectly recorded their much-needed appointments and medications.

“It gets pretty irritating to be honest, you could be sitting at an appointment, and it says you missed it,” said an Army National Guard veteran, Kris Hemmerling.

To help problem solve, Rep. Newhouse brought in Rep. Mike Bost, a ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs from Illinois.

“I needed to come personally to make sure we see and hear from the veterans [and why] it is that we’re not getting the job done correctly,” said Rep. Bost.

Reps. Newhouse and Bost said the number of problems with the system in Walla Walla and Spokane paused the rollout.

Other veterans said they had to wait months to see a doctor or therapist.

“It takes perseverance from lawmakers like us to make those changes and the voices we heard tonight are going to help get that job done,” said Rep. Newhouse.

Reps. Newhouse and Bost said they will take the feedback directly to Congress in Washington D.C. so changes can be made as soon as possible.

“I understand that it might take some time, but as long as your making steps forward and not taking ten steps back, that’s a positive for me,” said Hemmerling.

Rep. Newhouse said he’s making progress on getting more providers in rural communities. He said he’s also making veteran services more accessible to women.

The PACT Act could be passed in the next few weeks, said Rep. Newhouse. He said the Act would provide help to veterans exposed to toxins after 9/11.

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