The national scandal concerning wait times and poor care for America's veterans by the VA is a heated issue in Hawaii. Thankfully, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is all over the problem.
Rep. Gabbard, a twice-deployed combat veteran, on Friday wrote a letter to Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson detailing her serious concerns about the misrepresentation of wait-time data to Hawaii's congressional delegation. She also questioned the competency of the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System's leadership.
"In this urgent crisis, there should be zero tolerance for lies or misrepresentation about the dire situation our veterans are facing in Hawaii," said Gabbard.
Justifiably upset with ridiculous 145-day wait times for veterans to see a doctor, Gabbard has advocated for immediate action to allow veterans to seek care outside the VA system. Last week, she wrote to President Obama urging him to use his executive power to take this action immediately.
In a bit of good news on this issue, before the scandal broke, we learned that the Maui VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinic received a Rural Health Grant to increase access and better serve veterans living in East and West Maui.
Mental health and social work services are now provided to veterans at Kahana Door of Faith Church at 4975 Lower Honoapiilani Road on Wednesdays, and Waiola Church at 535 Wainee St. in Lahaina on Thursdays and Fridays. These West Maui clinics are open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
West Maui appointments can be made by contacting VA representatives at (808) 856-1222. Walk-ins are welcome. As an extension clinic, staff will provide mental health services, as well as assist and direct veterans to other eligible benefits and resources within the VA.
As Gabbard noted, caring for our veterans and their well-being is a sacred privilege. The Washington bureaucrats that send American soldiers off to war must do a better job caring for our veterans.