Veterans Affairs

The VA has opened more call centers and hired hundreds of additional responders after complaints that some callers experienced long hold times or were sent to voicemail.

Julio Ochoa/Health News Florida

Charles Claybaker spent five tours in Afghanistan, kicking in doors and taking out terrorists. But an aircraft crash in 2010 left the Army Ranger with a crushed leg, hip and spine and a traumatic brain injury.

Army doctors loaded him up with a dozen prescriptions to numb the pain and keep his PTSD in check.

Department of Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie was President Trump's second choice to replace fired Secretary David Shulkin.

But the former Pentagon official is now running the VA said he's promised to protect the VA from politics and total privatization.

Intersection: The Road To Better Care For Veterans

Aug 8, 2018
Matthew Peddie, WMFE

One of the challenges facing Veterans  after their service is getting access to healthcare. Veterans Affairs secretary Robert Wilkie, who was sworn in last week, will address American Veterans today at the group’s annual convention in Orlando. Improving access to healthcare is one of the issues the service organization is looking to Wilkie to address.

U.S. Department of Defense

The Senate on Monday confirmed Pentagon official Robert Wilkie to be secretary of Veterans Affairs, charged with delivering on President Donald Trump's campaign promises to fire bad VA employees and steer more patients to the private sector.

The VA is now mailing identification cards to veterans who want tangible proof that they served in the military. But after waiting almost three years for the new government-issued I.D., some veterans are not happy that the card contains an advertisement.

"Don't ask, don't tell" is how many veterans have approached health care conversations about marijuana use with the doctors they see from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Worried that owning up to using the drug could jeopardize their VA benefits — even if they're participating in a medical marijuana program approved by their state — veterans have often kept mum. That may be changing under a new directive from the Veterans Health Administration urging vets and their physicians to open up on the subject.

A bill that would create a Florida system parallel to the existing federal Veterans Health Administration passed its first committee hearing Tuesday.

It would allow veterans to opt into the state’s Medicaid system in addition to or even instead of the VA.


Despite recent efforts by Congress to improve the performance of the Veterans Administration, some Tallahassee vets and even a local caregiver say their situation hasn’t improved.

One day in February, Salvatore Pelegrino, a cancer patient at the Veterans Administration hospital in Miami, was peeling an apple at a table on a patio outside the hospital when a police officer approached and confiscated his knife. Pelegrino, who uses a walker and breathes with the help of an oxygen tank, was handcuffed and detained at a facility on the hospital campus, then issued a ticket for carrying a knife with a blade longer than 3 inches.

“How would you like to deal with [the ticket], sir?” the judge asked Pelegrino in court, in April.

A new administrator at the Bay Pines Healthcare System is being credited by veterans for resolving a paperwork snafu that had some low income VA clients being billed for medications they should have gotten for free.

It's a fix that hasn't fixed much, but the troubled Veterans Choice program has been extended anyway.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed a bill extending the program intended to speed veterans' access to health care beyond its original August end point.

The Orlando VA Medical Center breaks ground Wednesday on a place for family members to stay while a loved one is getting treated.

When clinical psychiatrist Cher Morrow-Bradley and other health care providers call the Veterans Choice program, they are greeted with a recorded, 90-second "thank you" from Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald.

It's not having the intended effect.

"Why don't you make this easier? The process is so cumbersome, and I have to listen to you thanking me for spending all this time and then I get put on hold," says Morrow-Bradley, adding that she hasn't figured out how to skip the message.

AHCA Ends VA Hospital Access Lawsuit

May 14, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration on Wednesday dismissed a nearly year-old lawsuit aimed at giving state inspectors access to federal Veterans Affairs medical centers and documents.

AHCA and two individual plaintiffs filed a notice in federal court in Tampa that they were dismissing the case, and U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell formally approved the dismissal. The federal government fought the lawsuit, arguing last year that the U.S. Constitution's "Supremacy Clause," bars states from regulating federal activities without consent.

Scott Sues VA Over Inspections

May 29, 2014

Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday he plans to sue the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in an attempt to force the agency to allow the state to inspect its Florida hospitals.