Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: Veterans Affairs


MILITARY: Mental health service must improve

It is essential that the Department of Defense not only maintain, but improve military mental health services even in the face of the drawdown (TNT, 1-22).

Since World War II there has been an increasing shift to more psychological injuries than physical injuries. However, these injuries have not been treated on equal par with physical injuries. Untreated, psychological injuries can lead to poor adjustment, substance abuse and suicide.

Between 2010 and 2014, the Institute of Medicine repeatedly recommended increased accountability, coordination and standardization to improve military mental health. Currently, each service branch has its own policies and procedures for mental health;

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VA: Local facilities delivered quality care

With the current negative publicity and heightened focus on all Veterans Affairs hospitals and their staff, I felt compelled to voice my perspective on my personal experience with American Lake and Seattle VA hospitals.

I am a 66-year-old Vietnam-era veteran. I have been fortunate to have had good health over the years but recently experienced pain in my left hip and sacroiliac joint. My military experience 40-some years ago included duty as a paratrooper.

The physicians at American Lake VA hospital ordered X-rays and diagnosed the root cause of my pain as a hip or a sacroiliac problem. Further X-rays

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VETERANS: Nonprofit course still needs support

I was very pleased to see your article, “Golf at American Lake helps disabled vets get outdoors” (TNT, 7-29).

As mentioned in the article, the Veterans Affairs golf course, which is completely managed and cared for by more than 200 unpaid volunteers, offers training and rehabilitation through golf, regardless of the types of disabilities and injuries suffered by our troops.

The article also mentioned that pro golfer and living legend Jack Nicklaus has contributed his design services free of charge in order to expand the present nine holes of golf to 18 as the number of rounds played exceeds

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VETERANS: Congress helped create VA crisis

Congress has no compunction about burdening the Department of Veterans Affairs with new responsibilities, new requirements and new programs without targeting funding for the time, money and personnel these require.

Your article (TNT, 6-10) states that the local VA’s wait is 59 days for an initial visit  vs. a VA goal of 14 days. That goal is ludicrous in view of the VA’s chronic physician shortage. That said, the goal will be met. The public uproar must be quelled.

The VA brought about this predicament by gaming the system. As Congress bloviates from the sidelines, the VA will resolve

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VA: Shinseki didn’t deserve the way he was treated

I was saddened to see the distraught look on the face of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki as he announced his resignation Friday. He is another victim of people in Congress who have nothing to do but find fault with those in difficult positions who struggle to do things right.

As secretary, he was responsible for what his administration did or failed to do. But to manage an extremely large area, you have to depend on the integrity of the hospital administrators whom, I feel, were not honest to him.

I may be biased in my assessment of Shinseki because

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VA: Shinseki’s only a scapegoat

Poor Eric Shinseki – for whom I hold no particular brief. He is the designated spear catcher to distract from problems that are inherent in, and intrinsic to, large, unionized government bureaucracies. The problems we have seen are particularly prevalent in the area of government-provided health care, although “provided” may be too strong a word, since lack of provision is the issue.

Britain’s National Health Service did something exactly analogous to the Veterans Affairs secret waiting lists, and for the same reason: to “comply” with regulations requiring timely treatment of patients. In that case, patients were parked in ambulances outside

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VA: Private sector has its share of problems, too

I have been the grateful recipient of the Veterans Affairs medical care system for a number of years in Minnesota, Wisconsin and now Washington. The care I have received has been outstanding throughout.

According to The News Tribune, 80 million veterans are under VA care nationwide. While falsifications of records and other acts of malfeasance are, of course, unacceptable, simple mathematical odds should tell us that mishaps when dealing with such numbers are unavoidable.

Need we be reminded of the glitches in the private sector – such as the doctor in Florida who cut off a man’s wrong leg and

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VA: Scandal foreshadows looming ACA woes

The ugly scandal enveloping the Veterans Affairs health care system offers a solemn reminder of the problems involved when bureaucracy and politics are mixed with something so basic to America’s welfare as health care.

Even with years to prepare (12-plus years for the first Afghanistan veterans, 11 years for the first Iraq vets) for this wave of need, the VA system is overwhelmed and plagued by attempts to cut costs and cover the butts of politicians. Far too many are suffering, even dying, as a result.

Today it is affecting a relatively small number of veterans; think of the implications

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