Reports against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are piling up, alleging everything from lengthy backlogs of claims to employees learning to manipulate wait lists in order to hide how long veterans were actually waiting for treatment.
Local veteran Dr. Brad Larner says these allegations come as no surprise.
"Veterans by nature tend not to want to ask for help. The last thing we want to do is run into a bunch of roadblocks," commented Larner.
The former Marine is also a therapist at Foundation of Truth Family Services in Saginaw. He has some horror stories of his own when seeking help for an ankle injury suffered while on duty.
"When I finally got my physical with the doctor at the VA, she told me, 'You are going to be denied' even though she was looking at my file," Larner stated.
He says his claim was denied. He filed an appeal, which now, nearly six years later, is in Washington D.C. still waiting to be reviewed.
Larner says he's heard some tragic stories of other veterans, one who was having problems due to his experience in combat. He went to the VA seeking help, but help didn't come quick enough.
"They told him it was going to be a three-month wait before he could get in to see anybody, and during that time, he took his life," Larner recalled.
He says men and women who serve their country, putting their lives on the line, should not have to face another battle here at home when trying to get the care they need and deserve.
"It makes it so a person doesn't want to join the military because they know how they'll be taken care of afterward," commented Larner.
Larner has started his own nonprofit called Veterans for Truth. He says the organization provides counseling services to veterans who needed help but were falling through the cracks.
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