The number of veterans seeking care from the VA has shot up in the last few years but across the country, the number of medical staff available to provide healthcare services has not.
A 2014 law, the Veterans Choice and Accountability Act, funneled $2.5 billion to VA medical centers for assistance in hiring more doctors, nurses and other medical staff. However, an investigation by NPR and local member stations conducted earlier this year found that wait times have not improved.
In St. Louis, it wasn’t until fall 2016 that the VA St. Louis Health Care System got its first permanent director since June 2013. Before the 2016 appointment, the local VA health care system had eight interim directors.
On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard the first of a three part series about local veterans and their journeys to receive medical care.
Along with assistance from production engineer Aaron Doerr, the series is hosted by Monica Ramirez, a post-9/11 U.S. Army veteran and Mission Continues fellow.
Founded by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, The Mission Continues works to empower veterans who are adjusting to life at home. Ramirez, a former combat correspondent for the military, served a Mission Continues fellowship with St. Louis Public Radio.
We take a journey with local veterans and their families as they make their way through the St. Louis VA system.
The first part, through sound-rich narration and storytelling, follows veterans and their families as they wade through what they say is a complicated benefits application process where some feel they’re required to jump through hurdles in order to get the care they need.
Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 or text 838255
Music heard in this piece:
- Moon Maiden (Golden Curles)
- Vikings In The Attic (Arms Of Tripoli)
- Falling, Catching (Agnes Obel)
- Start Shootin’ (Little People)
- Philharmonics (Agnes Obell)
- Aom (Mouse On The Keys)
- The Day I Tried To Live (Soundgarden)
- Sailing To Nowhere (Broken Bells)
- Ellipsis (Adult Fur)
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.