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Keeping local veterans connected to health services

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Work continues to improve health care services for veterans nationwide.    Last year it was revealed there were long wait times for vets at VA clinics. WBFO'S Eileen Buckley checked in with the leader of Buffalo's VA to discuss the challenges for local veterans.

"We have to continue to stay mission focused on providing health care to our veterans and wowing our veterans," said Brian Stiller, Director of Buffalo's VA. 

Stiller also a veteran and notes there are many challenges  with government rules and regulations that make it difficult for veterans to receive the services they are seeking.    

"None of us, in our healthcare system in the VA, come to work with the intentions of hurting or knowingly hurting another individual," said Brian Stiller, Director, Buffalo VA.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Buffalo's VA Director Brian Stiller appeared at a recent news conference.

"And it's our job to figure out how to work it so the veterans get the care and services they've earned," said Stiller.

Buffalo's VA serves area veterans from many generations young and old. Stiller says it bothers him deeply to hear any veteran was forced to wait for care. 

"It is something that we take seriously, and we are going to work at even locally. I want veterans to have early diagnosis, early access," said Stiller. "None of us, in our healthcare system in the VA, come to work with the intentions of hurting or knowingly hurting another individual."

Stiller tells WBFO News those who often fall through the 'cracks' of the VA system are sometimes a younger military member, who was discharged from active duty in the U.S. and may not understand how to access healthcare benefits.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Inside a hallway at Buffalo's VA on Bailey Avenue.

Stiller said new VA Secretary, Bob McDonald, has been encouraging VA's to become more involved in their communities and create relationships that could widen assistance and other services for vets.  

"That hopefully is leading to inroads, rules and regulations," stated Stiller. "As citizens, we all have the responsibility to our fellow veterans and I think Western New York has demonstrated that commitment."

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