One of the main reasons I started writing and working with the media a decade ago was to keep a spotlight on the quality of veterans care in Orlando. After a string of bad experiences involving transition services, health care, and educational benefits after I left the military, I genuinely felt wronged.
After doing some research I wasn’t alone.
Trying to find help with the department of Veterans Affairs can at times feel like screaming in a hurricane. It’s a huge government agency that has long been overwhelmed by claims due to years and years of bad management at it’s highest levels. It’s bad.
Here in Orlando there has been a lot of improvement. The VA Hospital at Lake Nona is a beautiful facility and when that center opened, it increased the quality of care at the Baldwin Lakes Hospital where I receive my health care. It’s far from perfect and seeing a specialist can still take a while but we wait. It’s not like we have a choice.
One area continues to be ignored. Dental care.
The VA dental clinics in Central Florida are bad. Because of strict requirements by the VA, most veterans don’t qualify for care.
This means transitioning veterans, who might not have their footing in the private sector, are on their own if tooth pain strikes.
I’ve read hundreds of releases with lawmakers filing bills for all sorts of things but this area continues to be ignored. Why?
It’s likely the cost. This is where optimizing the VA comes into play. I’ve been in the room when these budgets are set, the focus is on keeping every penny possible and to avoid sending any unused funds back.
This project would take years, but even with hyper-partisan environment in Washington there has to be some space here. Right? I hope so.
Even if it means opening up the eligibility window to just one group at a time, that would go a long way. Anything.
This is a trapdoor in the VA Healthcare system that can’t continued to be ignored.
Which member of the Central Florida delegation would like to step up?