VA health system hot topic at state VFW convention

More fallout from the startling investigation into the nation’s Veteran’s Affairs health system: the Arizona Republic reported that workers at the VA hospital in Phoenix received $10 million in bonuses.

The hospital is accused of covering up long patient wait times, and dozens of other VA hospitals are under investigation. It is the hot topic at the statewide Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Lancaster.

“Seems like the main topic right now is going to be the VA hospital,” said Russell Canevari, the Pennsylvania VFW Commander.

Canevari said he was not surprised when the VA scandal broke.

“We’ve been saying this since I’ve been involved on this level since 1998. Unfortunately, what happened in Arizona and Pittsburgh brought everything to light,” Canevari said.

Although the spotlight may be on certain VA hospitals, Canevari said the cover-ups and hold-ups can happen anywhere.

“I have personal friends of mine that came back from Iraq. Their case is still pending and they’ve been dead for over a year,” he said.

John Moon, former VFW Commander in Chief, said the organization has been fighting for better funding.

“We have strived for years to present this independent budget for them to pass. We’ve come up short each time,” Moon said.

“We have to get this fixed. We have to take care of the backload. If we don’t do that, it’s only going to get worse,” Canevari said.

Veterans are hopeful. Senator Bob Casey and Governor Tom Corbett will attend the conference to address the issue. Hundreds of veterans are expected to to be there.

“We want them to attend the meetings, when the governor is here and Senator Casey is here, to show them that there is a concern. And I will tell you this: this is a known commodity. Veterans vote,” Canevari said.

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