Charlotte veterans criticize program meant to alleviate VA wait time

A veteran’s program that was meant to alleviate the wait time at the Veterans Affairs Office is now being criticized for doing just the opposite. Local veterans are speaking out and contacted FOX46 to help them get answers.

The Choice Program is a 10 billion dollar program created by Congress to cut down the wait time for veterans looking for medical care.

Local Navy veteran Ronda Griffith was excited when the program first launched. She says she thought it would take care of her appointment concerns. Griffith has been in need of medical help for months.

“Some days I can’t put pressure on my right foot. I have to walk with crutches,” she said.

Griffith qualified because of the two requirements. The choice program is for veterans who have been waiting for an appointment with the VA for more than 30 days and those live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA hospital.

We contacted Congressman Robert Pittenger’s office after not hearing back from the VA office. We found that about 10 veterans have reached out to him with the same complaint.

“Critically, there are issues of delay that foster a lot of problems. We deal with this every day. We are out there aggressively helping veterans,” Pittenger said.

Bob Becker, a military veteran specialist who works in Pittenger’s office says the problem comes down to the fact that the program is new.

“It’s really that it’s a new program. We’ve heard from the VA that the people they deal with are new. The people the veterans are calling are new and don’t know quite all the procedures and what needs to be done,” Becker said.

Griffith hopes she doesn’t have to wait long every time she’s in need for medical care.

Pittenger says he’s aware of the concerns and believes it’ll take time for the program to fully take off and do what it was meant to accomplish.