Vets speak out on Memorial Day about health care

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- On Memorial Day, health care for veterans got attention from the podium in Jacksonville.

Speakers raised the topic before a huge crowd of veterans paying respects to those men and women who died in defense of freedom.

"In Florida we are in good shape. In Florida we are taking care of veterans," said Congresswoman Corrine Brown.

The Veterans Administration has come under scrutiny following reports of waiting lists, delay appointments and even deaths.

Michael Abbey is local veteran who attended Monday's ceremony. He served four years in the navy.

"When you go for the stuff they are helpful, but it is getting to see somebody, the scheduling and everything," said Abbey who says he is waiting for cataract surgery with nothing scheduled after four months. He says his wife, Patricia, is still waiting to have an MRI done.

Jacksonville attorney and veteran Sean Cronin is hearing from veterans. His practice included handling military issues.

"You can put up with delays if talking about primary care, but once get into bleeding, cancer, surgery thinGS like that needs to be timely," said Cronin.

His advice to veterans who call for help, be an advocate for yourself.

"I always tell them to call the Patient Advocate, every VA location has one. Demand to be transferred or get the care you need," said Cronin.

Michael and Patricia Abbey are ready to retire are planning to move and they are hoping wherever they relocate, veteran care will be better than what they have experienced recently.

"We are going to move to Tennessee, hopefully up there VA clinics better than those down here lately," he said.


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