SEMINOLE — In the midst of a growing nationwide controversy, U.S. Rep. David Jolly said he is scheduling a "Veterans Intake Day" so local veterans can share stories about the care they're receiving from the VA medical system.
The move comes as some members of Congress have called for a criminal inquiry into problems at VA centers across the country, including excessive wait times for medical care.
"I believe we are approaching a crisis within the VA health care system when it comes to wait times," Jolly, R-Indian Shores, said Tuesday.
Jolly said he wants to learn if veterans are enduring the kinds of delays others have reported around the county. He said he would be glad to hear positive or negative experiences, adding, "we do hear numerous good reports about the quality of health care there, so it's important that we keep that in context."
Jolly said veterans "with any issues, any claims, any stories" will be invited to come to his office between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. June 17, which is on St. Petersburg College's campus at 9210 113th St. in Seminole.
Jolly has called on the VA to clear its waiting lists by allowing veterans to get health care from private medical providers.
Overall, Jolly said, "The wait list is creating a danger to the health of veterans. We have to clear the wait list now," he said.
David Miller, who handles claims and patient advocacy at the C.W. Bill Young Medical Center (formerly Bay Pines) said he has received excellent medical care at the facility. He said he has heard it can take a long time to get a primary care physician to issue a "consult" with a specialist. But he urged veterans to continue using the VA medical facilities, to demand good care and to come to Jolly's intake day.