NC veterans waiting months for basic dental care

Mary Skov, retired from the U.S. Air Force, has been waiting for months for basic dental care from the VA. (Source WECT)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Mary Skov was in the middle of a series of painful dental procedures when Veterans Affairs told her they were stopping her dental care.

“I had two teeth pulled, I’m supposed to have implants put in and I have three more teeth that need to be pulled,” Skov said. “I’m still waiting and I’m still in pain.”

She said her dental work was shelved after a water sample from the Wilmington VA Clinic was found to be contaminated with heavy metals. According to the VA’s Public Affairs Office, services within the GI, Urology and Dental departments were all suspended.

After waiting in pain for six months, she said she received a call from her dentist informing her that she would be outsourced into the community for dental care. Skov said she finally felt a sense of relief—but there was a catch.

“We were told it would take two to three weeks for the paperwork to get approved,” Skov said. “But according to people who work behind the scenes, it’s going to take two to three months to get approval through veteran’s choice.”

Veteran’s Choice is the latest, multi-million dollar program that’s purpose is to help veterans who are having trouble getting health care. Last August, Congress passed the Act in the wake of a scandal that showed veterans were literally dying while waiting for care. Skov said her attempts at using the program have gotten her nowhere.

“When I called up to Fayetteville to try and use Veteran’s Choice, I was flat out told on the phone, ‘No,’ dental care would be denied approval,” Skov said.

John Byrnes with Concerned Veterans for America said Skov isn’t the only veteran having problems.

“The wait times here in the fayetteville area are 28 or more days,” said Byrnes. “That’s about four times the national average of six days for veterans waiting for VA healthcare…something’s not clicking”

Copyright 2015 WECT. All rights reserved.

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