Congressman Dan Benishek spoke to veterans Monday morning at the American Legion Post 186 in Hancock about their top concerns for Congress.
Though many topics were discussed, the main concern was the lack of veteran care services provided locally.
??Eye care. They don??t have the machines to test for eyes. X-rays. They don??t have a lot of the x-ray equipment we need," explained American Legion Post 186 Commander, Daniel Watrous, Sr. "It??s in the local hospitals, and that??s their concern. Some of these tests could be done by the local hospital and probably save the veterans some money.??
Although the Keweenaw does have a VA clinic right here in Hancock, there??s a limited amount of services it can provide. Veterans say they??re concerned about having to drive all the way out to Iron Mountain, and in weather conditions like Monday, they say that??s just not always a possibility.
The VA hospital in Iron Mountain has the equipment available to provide those services that veterans may need, but many of them have disabilities that don??t allow them to drive. They say it??s a hassle and is inconvenient to have to make arrangements to travel to Iron Mountain. In the event of an emergency situation, they need to know that they??re covered at local hospitals.
??Finding out what the regs (regulations) are now for allowing more of that fee-for-service stuff to happen right in your own community would be a good first step for me to understand that better and advocate for that to happen more often,?? said Benishek.
Knowing the regulations for fee-for-service claims would be a step closer to vets receiving certain services at local hospitals.
??We??ve got to be working harder to make it easier for our veterans to get care locally," Benishek said. "I??m going to renew my efforts to make that happen.??