Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Arizona Veterans Frustrated with Shuttle Service

N4T Investigators: Veterans complain about new V.A. shuttle service
Tucson KVOA News 4
Written By Paul Birmingham
June 21, 2015
“There's about 1,300 shuttles that are done on a weekly basis, so when you have five or six complaints, that's not a significant number, but we're not happy to have any complaints. So, obviously, we want to provide great transportation to all our veterans,” Sample said.
For disabled veterans, transportation to and from doctors appointments is more than a luxury, it can be a lifeline. Though, as the News 4 Tucson Investigators have discovered, some disabled veterans in our community are extremely dissatisfied with those services.

Mark Martinez served in the United States Army more than three decades ago. Every day, he deals with the hip, back, and knee pain from injuries he suffered during his service as a young man.

“I was 101st Airborne. I jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, got hurt coming down one night, and it's never been the same since,” Martinez said.

Now, Martinez's pain is coupled with frustration over changes in the provider who takes him to medical appointments at the southern Arizona Veterans health center.

The turnaround came earlier this year, when the V.A. went with a new company that was contracted to provide transportation services for vets.

The contract allows for rides to be combined. Martinez says, it means he no longer receives one-on-one service in smaller minivans, like he used to under the previous transportation provider.

“I'm not going to be shuttled around like cattle or something like that,” Martinez said.

So, despite the pain of getting in and out of the truck he loves, he's resorted to driving himself to some appointments. Something that is harder for him to do financially.
read more here

One of the comments mentioned the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) providing rides
I'm A volunteer DAV driver for the VA Hospital. The DAV has a separate transportation service separate from the Hospital. They transport Vets that aren't eligible for VA transportation, but everyone is welcome. I normally provide one on one service when I drive, but occasionally because of scheduling and location of the pick up locations we may pick up 2 Vets. I would suggest that this Vet tries the DAV service once to see if this would work better for him. Some helpful hints are to make his appointments before 11:30 and call for a reservation early ( DAV will schedule up to a month in advance) He can call the DAV through Patient Travel (520-629-4626).

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