Local organizations reach out to veterans

KDBC
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 7:18pm

Veterans are now being told they have other options to get care.

Veterans in the Sun City are forced to wait more than two months on average for health treatment at the El Paso Veteran Administration Facility.

But Tuesday the Amistad for Veterans Project reminded the community there is help for those who need it.

In fact, one veteran I spoke with said he's waited nearly 120 days for his appointment with the VA.

"I am very frustrated with the system right now," said Francisco J Herrera, 15 year veteran. Herrera served in the navy for nearly 15 years, and he is one of the many patients waiting to see a VA doctor.

A wait that now spans more than 4 months.

“I went to the emergency room at Beaumont this was February, I don't have an appointment until June 24th,” he said.

Herrera has been declared 10 percent deaf and after Tuesday’s summit held by various organizations, Herrera said he's hopeful he'll now get the help he needs.

“I've talked to two or three people who have given me direction to get better assistance better help in my situation,” said Herrera.

The forum showcased several free services readily available to those veterans who need it.

“Our services range everything from transportation to PTSD counseling to traumatic brain injury treatment the full range and the full spectrum of services that the veterans themselves need and often times have a hard time getting through the veterans administration,” said Roy Ortega Project Amistad Community Relations Manager.

Ortega added frequently veterans don't know about the services available outside the normal VA route and said he hopes forums like Tuesday’s not only informs but brings relief to frustrated veterans.

“This is a way for them to get that information so they can in fact take advantage of the ability for them to get back on track with their lives to become productive and contributing members of the community,” Ortega said.

Congressman Beto O’Rourke said they are trying to hire more doctors to help with the demand at the VA but said he fully supports local organizations who are ready to help veterans.

“Anyone whether it's the VA, the veterans service organizations or private groups or individuals we want to work with them to make sure we connect veterans with the care they earned and that they need,” said O’Rourke.

O’Rourke said they are launching an investigation to determine why the El Paso VA was reporting very low wait times.

Ortega said, based on the turnout and success of Tuesday’s summit he is already planning for another one in the near future.

If you would like to contact Project Amistad, call 915-407-3223.

There are programs like the El Paso’s Court Program.

This program determines whether you qualify for disability compensation, pension, education benefits, and vocational rehabilitation.

For more information on this program, call 915-546-2119.

TLC Home Healthcare Services are another group trying to help veterans.

To contact them, the number is 915-355-5149.

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