Maine veterans struggle using plan to cut long waits for care

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By Nok-Noi Ricker

Local Vietnam veteran Ron Warner, who has spent decades protesting long wait times for Mainers seeking health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs, was recently told he would have to wait three months to find out if he had cancer.

Long wait times triggered the government’s newVeterans Choice Program, but the process to get an appointment still was confusing, said Warner, who wore a U.S. Marine Corps uniform from 1969 to 1971 and joined the Disabled American Veterans upon his return stateside.

Warner recently found blood in his urine and his VA doctor recommended a urologist be consulted.

“The VA gave me an appointment 90 days out,” Warner said. “They are supposed to get you in within 30 days. That was 60 days over the guideline, so that qualified me for Veterans Choice.”

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