August 19, 2014

Hawaii veterans talk doctor shortages in panel

Veterans told U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono they face a shortage of doctors on Maui, Molokai and the Big Island, which has contributed to the long wait times they endured seeking medical treatment across the isolated island chain.

Vietnam veteran Victor Craft called the Veterans Affairs problems a "train wreck in slow motion" at a Tuesday hearing on Oahu hosted by Hirono for the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

"There are those who say it will take a generation to fix the problems at VA, and that is unacceptable," Craft said.

Hirono pushed officials to explain what they've done to address the problems.

The VA has been enhancing staff on each island, and hiring more support staff so doctors can spend more productive time with patients, said Wayne Pfeffer, director of the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System.

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By:  Cathy Bussewitz
Source: Associated Press