Vets cite problems, want changes from Veterans Administration

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Many are having problems getting the help they need from the Veterans Administration, which has pledged changes.

Army veteran Greg Mockenhaupt says decades after his time in Vietnam, the terror from those days turned to PTSD, depression and nightmares.

"I was in the Vietnam conflict. We were roaming around mountains looking for different Vietnam or north Vietnamese units," Mockenhaupt recalls. "I have bad attention span and bad anger issues."

Mockenhaupt got treatment through the VA, which brought both relief and frustration.

He obtained meds and took classes that strengthen body and spirit. The classes include meditative movement, which is a therapy program designed just for vets. But then came cutbacks, like not enough instructors to meet the demand.

What's salt in the wounds now - the struggle to get answers from the VA.

"We are their customers. We are the people they're supposed to be taking care of," Mockenhaupt said.

The issue is raised in the wake of the Veterans Accountability Act of 2014.

So we asked veterans about responsiveness. Has the VA changed?

"Many of us have to jump through hurdles just to receive basic needs," said one veteran.

"They are so busy and it takes a long time to get in there," another veteran said.

"I know they are trying to make it better," said another.

Some parts of the country are lagging, and finding enough doctors is slowing the process, according to Congresswoman Julia Brownley on the Veterans' Affairs Committee

"We have the demand from veterans is actually growing so that's preventing us from improving as quickly as we would like to," Brownley said.

It's a mixed picture for Mockenhaupt. He praises his treatment at the Sepulveda facility. But he and his classmates say that VA middle management has failed to communicate with them about the future of the classes they depend on.

They've undertaken an active emailing campaign all the way to Washington, but they ask, why should vets have to do that?
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