Vets talk of continuing delays during VA hearing in Philly City Council

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 Philadelphia City Councilman David Oh talks with a veteran Monday. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia City Councilman David Oh talks with a veteran Monday. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

In the wake of months-long delays in care and falsified records at veterans medical centers, Philadelphia City Council held a hearing Monday on how city-area veterans are faring.

Delays and waiting lists have been dramatically reduced, said Daniel Hendee, director of the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

“Since October 2013, we’ve eliminated 91 percent of our waiting lists. We attribute that to direct communication with the patients who were on our waiting lists,” he said. “We do this in a group fashion in terms of problem solving and creative thinking.”

Veteran Chris Diaz said he spent eight months fighting a bill for knee surgery that was supposed to be covered by the VA.

“The VA had already paid the bill for the anesthesiologist and the ambulance service, but it somehow denied paying for the surgery itself,” Diaz said. “I called the VA twice a month to reconcile this issue, but to no avail.”

Other advocates, who said they worry that their complaints aren’t being taken seriously, are calling for modernizing technology at the VA to help move it forward.

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