VA contacts 70K vets for appointments

ST. LOUIS - The Veterans Administration is getting 70,000 veterans across the country off its waiting lists and into clinics.

Some veterans waiting for months and years to get care. One veteran in St. Louis got the call Thursday morning to make an appointment. The call came five years late.

Andrew Kaiser called the VA in 2009 after he came back from Operation Iraqi Freedom. He wanted to go to law school but he needed medical benefits. He never got a call back from the VA then, and he used his student loans to pay $900 a semester for the school's insurance. Everything changed Thursday morning when Kaiser got a call from someone at the VA.

"He asked me if I'd like an appointment. At first I thought it was a scam," said Kaiser.

He realized it wasn't. It felt like he'd just won the lottery.

"As happy as I am to get my VA card, there are people who are in much more need than I am," said Kaiser. "This gives me hope to know they'll reach out and find those people who desperately deserve to have the same treatment if not more."

Kaiser is the president of the Students for Veterans at Saint Louis University. He wants to help veterans when he graduates next year. He volunteers now to serve them and sees the need.

"People who are dying literally dying to get the attention they need they shouldn't have to suffer like this. A lot of them have had to suffer through wars and combat," he said.

He believes the VA's efforts now will get results, it will save and serve the veterans who are suffering and dying, waiting for care.

Kaiser will get his VA card next Thursday. It will mean he will no longer have to pay the $900 for insurance in his last year of law school.


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