Phoenix VA scandal: Places veterans can turn for help

PHOENIX - The Phoenix VA Health Care System is under the microscope, accused of neglect and mismanagement that may have led to 40 veteran deaths.

Now many of our Valley veterans are questioning what to do next when they need care.

It can be a confusing process already, but you don't necessarily have to go to the VA for help.

The important thing to know is you're not alone.

Veteran Eugene Fulton knows how long the wait list can get at the Phoenix VA hospital.

“I went in in October and was told I would meet my doctor in February,” Fulton said.

But since he suffers from PTSD, he learned from a doctor that he could skip the emergency room and go to clinics when he needed mental health care.

“It might take a while, it might take a couple hours, but I can get my prescription, I can meet with a doctor or I can at least meet with a nurse practitioner,” Fulton said.

Within the Phoenix VA Health Care System, you'll find social workers at clinics and patient advocates who can also help.

If problems come up, you can also call the Office of Quality Monitoring.

“Be a pest, you have to be persistent. I've called a lot, I've emailed my social worker a lot. But it got results,” Fulton said.

You have places to turn outside the VA too.

“We'll sit there for hours if we have to, to make sure they get the process done,” said Richard Lucero, commander of the American Legion Post 41.

Veterans at American Legion posts can walk you through paperwork and help make calls. Some will even accompany you to the hospital if you need help.

Disabled American Veterans can also help. You can find service officers at some DAVs.

U.S. Sen. John McCain also tells veterans who are not getting fast enough help to call his office. He said he has never turned a veteran away.

“We're in the military. We're all in different services, but we're still brothers,” Lucero said.

Resources:

Phoenix VA Health Care System

Patient advocates (602) 277-5551 x7394

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 press one

Office of Quality Monitoring (concerns about health care and safety)

1-800-994-6610

VA Office of the Inspector General (to report suspected waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement)

1-800-488-8244 or vaoighotline@va.gov

American Legion

Posts are listed by county at the link above.

Disabled American Veterans

Click on the link above for contact information for several regional DAV offices.

U.S. Senator John McCain

Phoenix Office:

2201 East Camelback Road, Suite 115
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Main: (602) 952-2410
Fax: (602) 952-8702

Prescott Office:

122 North Cortez Street, Suite 108
Prescott, AZ 86301
Main: (928) 445-0833
Fax: (928) 445-8594

Tucson Office:

407 West Congress Street, Suite 103
Tucson, AZ 85701
Main: (520) 670-6334
Fax: (520) 670-6637

Washington Office:

241 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: (202) 224-2235
Fax: (202) 228-2862

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