Veteran's travel expenses only paid to closest VA hospital - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Veteran's travel expenses only paid to closest VA hospital

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The VA hospital is tightening some regulations that have been in place for a few years.

They say Veterans need to travel to the closest hospital if they want to be reimbursed for travel expenses.

And for some -- this isn't where they currently receive care.

Some Veterans go to a primary care doctor or mental health doctor in Sioux Falls, even though other hospitals are closer.

Up until now, they've been paid for their travel expenses and they have a relationship with their doctors, but now to get paid, they need to go else where.

"Every time that they're reopening the wounds and stuff, I can pretty much see where a veteran would commit suicide," said Veteran Roy Jager.

He has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving in Iraq and Kosovo.

He's been seeing the same VA Sioux Falls doctor for about four years.

But now, the VA says he won't get reimbursed for his travel expenses unless he goes to the Sioux City VA.

"We're just now getting to where we can kind of bandage some of the effects of PTSD," he said.

Jager's worried that work will be undone if he has to retell his story.

He says it doesn't help that he's on a fixed income.

"That $20 is $20 of food I can't buy or $20 of personal hygiene I can't get," he explained.

The Sioux Falls VA Chief Business Officer Robert Taylor says there are some exceptions.

"If they contact and speak with their provider and present them the issue, the provider will take it and review," said Taylor.

If the review comes back in favor for the veteran, they are able to continue seeing their doctor and get paid.

Taylor added this policy was actually implemented in 2008.

"For us to reestablish and kind of draw a line in the sand and move forward, we're going to try to be a little more responsible with what we need to be responsible with," Taylor explained.

Jager added he just wants everyone to get the help they need and to fix their wounds, both psychical and mental, without having to switch doctors.


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