A state-by-state audit of Veteran Affairs hospitals reveals four of the longest wait times for veterans are right here in Texas.
Houston's DeBakey VA Medical Center was not among slower facilities in Dallas, Amarillo, El Paso and Harlingen.
In fact, Harlingen averaged 90 days for new patient primary care and a 145-day wait for new patients seeking specialist care. El Paso was second at 90 days.
“It's despicable, and it's poor leadership at some management level,” says retired Lt. Col. Gordon Fowkes, a Houston-area vet.
Army Major General Bill McClain (ret) believes the VA scandal is just the tipping point of a much larger problem.
“Doctors are saying I want to quit practicing because of all this paperwork, Affordable Care Act, and one thing and another,” McClain tells KTRH News. “This is just indicative of a real crisis we're headed for.”
McClain says there are talks the VA may soon be forced to offer vouchers for vets to seek private care instead.
“It would be easier for the VA, rather than doing what they should be doing, to say here's a voucher and you can go off to the local economy,” he says.
“You can't just turn them loose like that, the VA is still responsible for making sure they get some kind of care,” says McClain.