3OYS: War vet says VA is 'taking him for a ride'

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. -- Bruce Klein enjoys retirement these days. But, when the 72-year-old sits back and relaxes, he finds himself thinking about the time he spent in both the Vietnam and Korean wars.

"I got to know a lot and appreciate a lot of South Korean people," Klein said. "Both soldiers and civilians."

Klein proudly served as an officer in the U.S Army and eventually left the military. Being a war veteran comes with benefits, like receiving health care from the VA hospital in downtown Phoenix. It's a good thing, too, because back in October 2013, Klein said he thought he was having a heart attack.

"Oh yeah, it was a sharp chest pain," Klein said. "I, on the advice of my wife, chewed an aspirin which made it subside some." 
 
Klein said his wife rushed him to a nearby hospital, where he was treated and put in stable condition by physicians.
  
After getting his medical treatment, Klein was transported by ambulance to the VA hospital in downtown Phoenix. It was supposed to be paid for in full by the VA. However, Klein said he received the ambulance bill anyway. The cost was more than $1,500, which he said shouldn't have happened.
 
"The VA called the ambulance and the VA takes care of the bill," Klein said.
 
The ambulance company eventually took Klein to collections. Because he was in the process of buying a home, Klein said he was forced to pay the $1,500 bill himself.
 
Klein told 3 On Your Side that his medical care at the VA was top notch, but the billing department was not very helpful.
 
"I have been more than pleased with the help," Klein said. "Administratively, come on guys. I mean, 15 months of 'the check is in the mail.' "