Waiting times at the two Veterans Affairs medical centers in Minnesota are considerably lower than the worst trouble spots in the VA system, new audit data released Monday show. The average wait time for a patient seeking primary care for the first time is 28 days at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and 25 days at the St. Cloud center, the data show. But the waits are much shorter for established patients who are already in the VA system — three days at Minneapolis and two days at St. Cloud.
There is increasing pressure on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign. A new report from the VA’s inspector general says hundreds of veterans are awaiting care at a VA hospital in Phoenix. The average wait time is almost four months for a first appointment.
Twenty-eight-year-old Derek Weida lost his right leg after being shot while on patrol in Iraq. “I was thinking, ‘There’s a good chance I could die out here.’ And I obviously came really close,” Weida said. He struggled with what to do with his life when he came home, but now he has a plan to help himself, and veterans just like him. Derek loved everything about the military, especially the brothers and sisters he made as part of the 82nd Airborne Division.
From 2006 to 2007 Mike Simon served in Iraq. His life changed forever when he was hit by a rocket propelled grenade, suffering a major head injury. After the blast, Mike’s wife Marno noticed a change in her husband. “He was able to call home once a week for about twenty minutes, started making really odd comments,” Marno said.
The number of homeless veterans dropped nearly 53 percent from 2009 to 2012.
A new building has been built near the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis to help military ad veterans’ families in their time of need.
Larry Shellito has been confirmed by Minnesota’s Senate as state Veterans Affairs commissioner.