Veterans Want Easier Access to Health Care

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Organizers expect a big gathering for a special "Veterans Day at the Capitol."

The Chair of Iowa Commission of Veteran Affairs, Dan Gannon, said this is a big day for veterans in Iowa.

Click here for the program to the event which is Wednesday January 17th from 9 A.M. to noon in the rotunda of the Capitol building.

Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg will be making speeches and veterans will have the opportunity to speak with their legislators on a number of issues.

The Chair of Iowa Commission of Veteran Affairs, Dan Gannon, said there are 230,000 veterans in the state of Iowa. Thirty-eight thousand of those veterans are disabled in some way.

When visiting the Iowa Veteran Home on Monday, Senator Joni Ernst said many veterans want not only better, but easier to access health care.

“There are two sides different sides to it because every meeting that I have with veterans, they truly appreciate the federal VA system,” said Ernst. “Sometimes we’re over capacity and so we see a lot of veterans that haven’t engaged in the VA before, now that they need those services, they are trying to get those services and they just can’t get scheduled.”

Ernst said that is something the Veterans Affairs System needs to work on at both a state and federal level.

“I believe veterans should be supported at their local, their state levels, as well but we obviously have a role at the federal government and it is a big role of making sure veterans get what they need” said Ernst.

When it comes to health care, mental health is also a topic of concern among veterans.

“We want to work on mental health, the VA healthcare system takes care of mental health, but we have mental health issues within the state of Iowa, said Gannon. “When it comes to veterans it would have to do probably with Post Traumatic Stress [Disorder] issues coming out of our wars and our conflicts that our veterans are involved in.

Senator Ernst said it is important to cater mental health treatment to each individual.

“Sometimes they need them just for a short period of time, just to help them get through a rough period, sometimes it’s a lengthy process for some of our veterans but again making sure they get that is vey important,” said Ernst.

Gannon said other big issues veterans have voiced surround the incorrect display of the POW/MIA flag as well as increased help on property taxes.