On the same day President Barack Obama signed the new VA bill into law, a local police officer and former marine reached out to KSDK for help.
The law is supposed to help people like Sgt. Mike Weston but after 8 months of frustration, he's not holding his breath.
Since turning 17, it seems Sgt. Weston was born to serve. He enlisted right after high school and spent two tours in Fallujah, Iraq.
"I got injured over the course of both deployments. I was injured by three IED's in 2006 and two in 2007," Weston said.
Now he serves as a police officer. When his vision didn't seem right, he called to get a base line eye exam at the VA. They told him it would take 7 months.
"The VA employee I spoke with told me it wasn't her problem, it wasn't her fault and there were too many people requesting eye exams," Weston explained.
In June, someone with the VA called and said they could accelerate his appointment by sending him to a private doctor. They canceled his appointment in July, but the private doctor couldn't seem him until August.
Completely fed up with the VA system, Weston called KSDK. It took about 15 minutes for us to make an appointment for him to see an optometrist at The Eye Bar in the Central West End.
Dr. Ricahrd G'sell said, "People shouldn't have to wait to see. It's a pretty basic function in our lives to be able to see. It's not rocket science, it's just good everyday normal primary care stuff."
Why would it take 8 months for a basic eye exam? A spokesperson with the VA told me eye exams are part of the "Accelerating Care Initiative" and promised to reach out to Sgt. Weston.
We explained to her that we already handled it, but asked if the VA will fill his prescription to correct his nearsightedness. We are still waiting to hear back. In the meantime KSDK will continue to shine a light, big or small, on problems and good things happening at the St. Louis VA.
The 16.3 billion dollar law signed today is supposed to improve medical care for veterans, and shorten the time in which they receive it.
The plan enables the VA to hire more doctors and nurses at nearly 1,000 hospitals and other medical facilities across the country. It also makes it easier to dismiss poorly performing VA officials, and protects the rights of whistle blowers who point out the system's shortcomings.
The legislation arose after reports of long wait times and sub-standard care at VA hospitals, and efforts by officials to cover up the problems.
"The job of improving veterans' health care does not end with a bill signing," President Obama said. "Implementing this law will take time," Obama continued, and making sure it works will require "focus from all of us."
Congress passed the legislation with bipartisan votes, though some Republicans criticized the president's handling of the VA issue.