Veteran services to expand under Mission Act

Vet services to expand under Mission Act

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Giving veterans choices was the focus of a town hall meeting with representatives from the Dublin Veterans Administration Tuesday night.

Through the Mission Act, veterans are given choices regarding health care and provider options.

HAPPENING NOW: Town Hall for the Veterans Health Administration at American Legion Post 30 in Albany.

Posted by Marilyn Parker WALB on Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Many veterans Tuesday said the act would be beneficial if they didn’t have to drive over two hours away for the services.

One vet told WALB he’s not too optimistic about what the Veterans Administration (VA) presented.

“I lost my trust for the VA,” said veteran Robert Washington.

Robert Washington is a veteran who addressed his concerns at Tuesday's town hall. (Source: WALB)
Robert Washington is a veteran who addressed his concerns at Tuesday's town hall. (Source: WALB)

Some vets feel they are still at war regardless of what the Veterans Administration is doing to help.

“I was denied my benefits,” said another vet.

Reps from the VA at Dublin held a town hall Tuesday, informing vets on the newly implemented Mission Act.

“At the VA in Dublin, we are focusing on not only maintaining but improving on our capacity internally to deliver health care to our veterans,” said David Whitmer, the director at the Carl Vison VA Medical Center in Dublin.

David Whitmer is the director at the Carl Vison VA Medical Center. (Source: WALB)
David Whitmer is the director at the Carl Vison VA Medical Center. (Source: WALB)

The act aims to give vets choices when it comes to health care and providers.

That wouldn't be a problem for some.

“I’m having to either go to Tifton or all the way up to Dublin,” said one vet.

It’s the traveling they said is a burden.

“That creates a lot of problems and stress and everything else,” said Washington.

Washington said he tried to get medical services from the VA.

“I don’t trust the VA to do nothing,” said Washington.

Washington said he isn’t too optimistic about the new programs.

“They just keep coming up with stuff to help us but the help don’t never really get there. It always run into a stumbling block,” Washington explained.

The VA is working to increase services locally by continuing services at the Marine base and working with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital for urgent care.

Washington said he’s heard it all before.

“It’s not going to happen,” said Washington.

Services at the Marine base will continue for another five years.

The VA does have providers in the community now but they are looking to expand.

If any veterans were unable to attend Tuesday’s town hall, they can call the Dublin VA for answers at 1-800-595-5229.

State representatives on VA/Mission Act plans

State representatives also gave their opinions on the Veterans Administrations plans to help vets in our area.

Senator Freddie Powell Sims questioned VA reps on plans to transport veterans and on the authorization process, saying it makes it difficult for vets to get care on time.

Senator Freddie Powell Sims. (Source: WALB)
Senator Freddie Powell Sims. (Source: WALB)

“It seems as if the process is opening up, and people are beginning to understand in the VA system that these individuals need to be able to make their own choices without having to wait for authorization,” said Sims.

Sims said transportation has been an ongoing problem, but said she and her office will do what they can to help get vets the services they need.

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