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Veterans Affairs Health Care: Why So Many Vets Are Struggling (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 03/17/11 09:51 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:35 PM ET

Veterans Affairs Health Care
The Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Walla Walla, Wash., is seen in a Feb. 26, 2004 file photo. A new outpatient clinic will replace an aging hospital here, providing medical care for veterans in the region, Veterans Affairs Secretary James Nicholson said Friday, July 7, 2006. (AP Photo/Jackie Johnston, File)

In this year's State of the Union address, President Obama said that "veterans can now download their electronic medical records with the click of a mouse." But, that claim was widely shown to be untrue.

Less than 48 hours later, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veterans obtain better health care, issued a statement urging the White House to set the record straight. Still, the President has yet to make a correction to his speech.

The Huffington Post recently spoke with Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA's executive director and founder, about the many ways the Department of Veteran Affairs falls short of providing timely, accessible health care for veterans returning home from war.

The VA has excessively long wait-times, a bureaucracy that is difficult to navigate, and "does a crappy job" of outreach, Rieckhoff said.

"It's an antiquated system," he said. "They need to be more like Zappos ... and to get with the 21st century."


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The IAVA was founded in 2004 and is based in New York City and Washington, DC. For more information, visit iava.org.

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