Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: VA Delays in Hawai‘i Are Infuriating, Deeply Disappointing

June 10, 2014
Press Release

VA Audit Reveals 145-Day Wait for Primary Care Appointments in Honolulu

Washington, DC– Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released the following statement on the results of a nationwide face-to-face audit of scheduling practices within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The congresswoman reiterated her call for an immediate solution to this urgent crisis that would allow veterans to seek care outside of the VA health system's bureaucratic pre-approval process.

“The results of the VA audit in Honolulu are infuriating, and deeply disappointing.  Our Hawai‘i veterans deserve better than to wait 145 days for a simple primary care visit,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “Last week, as I traveled all across Hawai‘i holding a Veterans Listening Tour, I heard from veterans of every conflict since WWII, from every county, about their challenges accessing VA healthcare. Some came with tears streaming down their face, as they begged for someone to please help them.  It makes me sick knowing that our returned warriors are subject to begging for care when they come home.  The time for immediate action has come and gone.  There are over 100,000 veterans across the country who have been waiting 90 days or more for their very first appointment.  Our veterans should not have to wait another day to get the care they have earned and deserve.  They must not be told to wait for the VA to be fixed.  Once again, I call on President Obama to use his executive authority now to address this crisis, and immediately enable veterans to access care within the private healthcare system using their VA identification card.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard wrote to President Obama last week urging him to use his executive power to allow veterans to use their VA identification card to obtain medical care through the private health care system, with the VA covering the cost of care. The congresswoman is also currently drafting legislation to give veterans the right to obtain private medical care as a temporary solution to this urgent crisis.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s Hawai‘i office can assist local veterans who feel they have been treated unfairly by the VA, or who have not received a timely response, for care or benefits. Constituents may request assistance from Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s virtual office by filling out this online form or calling (808) 541-1986.

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