Letter: Hawaii VA patients need more expeditious travel reimbursement

Letter to the Editor

The process presently used by the Pacific Islands Health Care System (PIHCS) forces VA patients here on Oahu to wait from seven to 10 weeks (sometimes longer) to receive payment of their travel claims. PIHCS believes that the process being used is efficient and gives all veterans served throughout the Pacific a uniform process for reimbursement.

The PIHCS process may have achieved uniformity and efficiency, but seemingly at the expense of the disabled veterans. If all VA clinics across the country had to wait this inordinate amount of time for payment of their travel claims, Hawaii veterans would not have anything to complain about.

However, other clinics like the VA Clinic in Viera, Florida pay their patient’s travel claims on the same day as their appointments. Some patients here (especially some of our 100 percent disabled veterans) need to receive payment of their travel claims on the day of their appointment in order to afford the trip to the clinic!

If the Viera clinic can provide this same-day service, so can the Spark M. Matsunaga VA Medical Center’s clinic in Honolulu. PIHCS needs to change their process in order to better serve the veterans.

If VA clinic patients here wish to receive their travel pay on the same day as their appointment, it is suggested that they voice their opinions to their congressional representatives In Washington, D.C.

Brooks Outland,
Senior Chief U.S. Navy (retired)