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Congressman and Iraq Veteran Details Poor Treatment from the VA

Freshman congressman from Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton (D), who served four tours in Iraq, recently shared his experiences with a VA hospital he visited for treatment in Washington D.C. He stated "I went to the VA, showed up and checked in at the front desk, and about 30 minutes later, they told me that they had no record of me. They couldn't prove that I was a veteran. But they would consider taking me as a humanitarian case."

Moulton had promised his constituents that he would continue to receive care from the VA. He also said that he did not identify himself as a member of Congress, and while he did not have his VA card on him, he did have his license and social security number. Moulton went on to say "More than enough things to put into their computer system, supposedly the world-renowned VA computerized medical records system." He said when that didn't work, he suggested they fax the VA hospital in Boston where he had previously received care. Yet, even the fax machine was giving them trouble. He noticed veterans in the waiting room next to him had been waiting there for "hours."

After his surgery, he was prescribed the powerful painkiller Percocet, in addition to Advil. Unfortunately, when he went home, he found that he was only given Advil. Of that experience, he stated "And so I opened up the bottle and took a pill. And sometime later, it was still hurting an awful lot, and so I went back for a second one and realized that I didn't have Percocet. I just had ordinary Advil. Of course, the pharmacy was closed at that point, so I was out of luck. If that's the care they're giving to a United States congressman, you can imagine what the average veteran is getting at many of the VA facilities across the country." Moulton said he has proposed a package of four bills to improve the quality of the workforce at the VA. They focus on recruiting new talent and investing in existing employees. The Department of Veterans Affairs later sent NPR a statement saying, "We believe we have made progress, but there is more work to do."

Photo: Roll Call

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