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The James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital's new outpatient clinic in southern Hillsborough County is up and running.
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Veterans in southern Hillsborough County no longer have to travel to the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa every time they need to see a doctor.


Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet approved Danny Burgess Jr. Thursday as the Department of Veterans' Affairs Director. Burgess is a former Pasco County Republican Representative who in November defeated his opponent by a nearly 2-1 margin. 

Chris Kurtz is trying to keep his sense of humor. Even after the VA told him last summer that he no longer needs a caregiver.

"Apparently my legs grew back, I dunno," he says with a laugh, and sinks into his couch in Clarksville, Tenn. And then he mentions that he probably can't get out of the couch without help from his wife.

The VA says 8500 requests for wheelchairs, artificial limbs, and other equipment have waited more than 30 days. That's down from 64,000 requests last year.

Gaetz, Democratic Ally Back Veterans’ Marijuana Bills

Nov 15, 2018

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and a Massachusetts Democrat on Wednesday introduced a package of legislation to change the Department of Veterans Affairs' medical marijuana practices in an attempt to make cannabis a more realistic treatment option for veterans.

Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

A phone call from Tampa to a wrong number in Nebraska delivered just what a man in pain needed: a ride to a hospital.

More than 20 veterans take their own lives every day in the U.S. and the majority never sought the help that was available to them.

Sen. Bill Nelson filed a bill last week that would provide veterans with access to medical marijuana at the VA and open doors for more research on the drug.

Charles Claybaker spent five tours in Afghanistan, kicking in doors and taking out terrorists. But an aircraft crash in 2010 left the Army Ranger with a crushed leg, hip and spine and a traumatic brain injury.

Army doctors loaded him up with a dozen prescriptions to numb the pain and keep his PTSD in check.

Intersection: The Road To Better Care For Veterans

Aug 8, 2018

One of the challenges facing Veterans  after their service is getting access to healthcare. Veterans Affairs secretary Robert Wilkie, who was sworn in last week, will address American Veterans today at the group’s annual convention in Orlando. Improving access to healthcare is one of the issues the service organization is looking to Wilkie to address.

VA secretary Robert Wilkie is set to speak to the veterans’ service organization American Veterans at their annual conference in Orlando this week.

The VA hopes to roll out a national "whole health" program for veterans, offering them acupuncture, tai chi, yoga,and other alternative mental health therapies.

The Senate on Monday confirmed Pentagon official Robert Wilkie to be secretary of Veterans Affairs, charged with delivering on President Donald Trump's campaign promises to fire bad VA employees and steer more patients to the private sector.

After months of tumult, Pentagon official Robert Wilkie is expected to become secretary of Veterans Affairs when the Senate votes Monday to confirm him, taking on the task of fulfilling President Donald Trump's promises to fire bad VA employees and steer more patients to the private sector.

Federal officials are reviewing allegations of mistreatment at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital.

President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Wednesday that will give veterans more freedom to see doctors outside the troubled Veterans Affairs system, a major shift aimed at reducing wait times and improving care by steering more patients to the private sector.

A key program being expanded by the Trump administration to give veterans greater access to private doctors has failed to provide care within 30 days as promised due to faulty data and poor record-keeping that could take years to remedy, according to a government investigation released Monday.

Congress delivered a victory to President Donald Trump by expanding private care for veterans as an alternative to the troubled Veterans Affairs health system.

In a surprise announcement that caught the candidate off-guard, President Donald Trump said he'll nominate acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to permanently lead the beleaguered department.

Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Trump's embattled nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, has withdrawn from consideration for the post amid allegations he had fostered a hostile work environment and behaved improperly while serving as the top doctor leading the White House medical unit.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

Employees of the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa took to the streets Tuesday to protest the large number of job vacancies in the VA system.

The Veterans Health Administration is planning to make mental health care more available to help reduce veteran suicide. But veterans advocates worry about the impact on the already strained VA health system.

New Generators Headed To Veterans' Nursing Homes

Dec 20, 2017

The Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs is buying new generators for three of its long-term care facilities after legislative leaders approved $3 million for the purchase.

A bill that would create a Florida system parallel to the existing federal Veterans Health Administration passed its first committee hearing Tuesday.

It would allow veterans to opt into the state’s Medicaid system in addition to or even instead of the VA.


VA.gov / Department of Veterans Affairs

This week the Department of Veterans Affairs expanded emergency mental health care to vets with other-than-honorable discharges. It's part of an effort to curb the recent increase in veteran suicide.


The U.S. has seen an increased rate of suicide among its veterans, and those deaths can change the lives of family and friends forever. This week on Florida Matters, our special two-part program on veteran suicide and the impact it can have on comrades and loved ones continues.


One day in February, Salvatore Pelegrino, a cancer patient at the Veterans Administration hospital in Miami, was peeling an apple at a table on a patio outside the hospital when a police officer approached and confiscated his knife. Pelegrino, who uses a walker and breathes with the help of an oxygen tank, was handcuffed and detained at a facility on the hospital campus, then issued a ticket for carrying a knife with a blade longer than 3 inches.

“How would you like to deal with [the ticket], sir?” the judge asked Pelegrino in court, in April.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs is not a veteran himself. And as the VA Undersecretary of Health, Dr. David Shulkin is, so far, the only holdover from the Obama Administration.

That means Shulkin is known to veterans groups like the American Legion.

It's been nearly two years since the Department of Veterans Affairs came under fire for the amount of time veterans had to wait to see a doctor. The agency scrambled to find a fix, including allowing vets the option of seeing a private doctor via a program they call Veterans Choice.

VA Watchdog Releases Report On Florida Facilities

Mar 2, 2016

Reports documenting scheduling problems and wait-time manipulation at the Department of Veterans Affairs are being made public, as the agency’s internal watchdog bows to pressure from members of Congress and others to improve transparency.

The VA’s Office of Inspector General released 11 reports Monday outlining problems at VA hospitals and clinics in Florida. The reports are the first of 77 investigations to be made public over the next few months.

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