In light of the recent VA healthcare scandal, the American Legion announced it will be setting up a Veterans Crisis Command Center here in Phoenix this week. The center will help veterans and their loved ones affected by the scandal.
The crisis center will have a team responsible for identifying the visitors' problems and then directing them to the necessary aid stations. Services given will include filing for benefits claims, enrolling in VA healthcare, and grief counseling. The claims station will help those who are able to prove that their veteran died because of a lack of medical care. Veterans may also be enrolled in the VA healthcare system, and those who have lost a loved one can find someone to talk to among the grief counselors.
National director Verna Jones says the center is a response by the American Legion to the concerns and complaints of veterans about their lack of health care. 1400 veterans have been waiting for medical appointments, and as many as 1700 have been kept off of waiting lists entirely. The complicated scheduling system has resulted in veterans dying before they can receive their medical help.
National chairman Ralph Bozella hopes that Phoenix's crisis center can restore veterans' faith in the VA health care system and serve as a template for helping veterans in other cities that suffer in the same way.
The center is located at American Legion Post 1 on 364 N 7th Ave. Hours are noon to 8pm Tuesday June 10, 8am to 8pm June 11th and 12, and 8am to noon on Friday June 13th.