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posted: 6/22/2014 5:01 AM

VA, especially Hines, unfairly maligned

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VA, especially Hines, unfairly maligned

After reading the letters attacking the Veterans Affairs, in particular Hines VA hospital, I felt it was worthwhile sharing my recent experience with them. As a newly reintroduced veteran into the system (I am returning after a 40 year hiatus), I could not be more pleased with my interaction.

The time it took me to get my first appointment with my primary care physician from the time I became eligible was only 10 days. This is quicker than I can get into my private sector primary care physician. My eligibility appointment was as a walk-in and it took only 45 minutes to complete the process.

After speaking with my primary care physician, I needed two specialist appointments. Both were able to be scheduled that very day. If I had not been able to spend the day there, the next available appointments were no more than 10 days off.

The people with whom I met were pleasant, qualified and, I believe, are now being unfairly maligned for a few outliers. I say "a few" since the numbers I read are 100,000 people; while not an insignificant number, that is out of 6 million vets in the system, or .016 percent. It would be interesting to know why the gentleman Senator Kirk had on TV took 284 days to get an appointment.

Many people may not be aware that there are eight priority levels of qualification. These range from vets who have a service connected disability to those who just want to use the VA facilities for issues unrelated to their service. It would be interesting to see how many of those 100,000 people fall into this latter category.

Howard Goldstein

Glen Ellyn

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