Medical providers expanding healthcare access for veterans

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by Jayson Chesler

Video report by Dennis Welch

Posted on July 2, 2014 at 11:45 AM

PHOENIX -- A pair of major medical providers have announced that they are expanding access to their facilities for veterans in Arizona and four other states.

Tenet Healthcare and TriWest Healthcare both announced that veterans can now go to more hospitals and urgent care clinics in five stats nationwide, including Arizona.

The expansion comes along with the surge in awareness and media coverage of veterans' healthcare that has happened since the VA wait time scandal broke in Phoenix earlier this year. Since then, there have been a number of events for veterans to sign up for medical treatment.

Arizona veteran Cruz Salinas is among many veterans who are happy with the progress made since the scandal. Salinas said the new expansion and increased attention to veterans' care has brought the system to new levels.

"This is the first time that we've had so much help available to us," Salinas said. "Now, at least we've got it. At least we've got people that are seeing that we haven't been getting fair treatment."

However, while many are welcoming the addition of more healthcare availability for veterans, some are skeptical of the benefits that expanding the system will bring.

"It's going to be a money grab, that's all it is," said Arizona veteran John Pelletier. "If it's not well-regulated and see-through, transparent, there are going to be some sharks out there. Big time."

The concerns of Pelletier and those who agree with him are based, in part, on the way they were treated by the VA. While adding more options could be positive, Pelletier said it won't help anyone if it's not more functional than in the past.

"We're just creating another bureaucracy," Pelletier said.

While some may not agree with Pelletier's fears, Arizona veteran Dan Besch said that, while options are a good thing, the quality of care is what truly matters.

"I think all veterans deserve top notch care," Besch said. "Be serious about it."

For more information about the availability of veterans' care, visit the VA's website.

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