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Baltimore VA Among Worst In Nation; Sen. Mikulski Works To Change That

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Veterans Administration offices here in Baltimore are among the worst in the nation in getting disability claims processed.

As Mike Schuh reports–it took over a year for a decision to come down. Now Senator Barbara Mikulski and others are using their power to get the VA to change how it does business.

They served their country, many are injured and now they want the VA to hold up their end of the bargain and provide the medical care they promised.

But here in Baltimore, the time between filing a benefits claim and getting an answer routinely ran over a year—and then 25% of those cases were mishandled. It’s the highest percentage of any VA office in the country.

Veterans at the hospital downtown were appalled.

Mildred Horsman is bringing her 84-year-old husband William in for treatment.

“I feel sorry for them, particularly if they don’t have the means to get out and get around just like us,” she said.

That’s why Senator Mikulski is in town. She met with regional leaders of the VA and veterans groups and announced a 10-point plan.

“We think if you’ve been on the front line serving your country, you shouldn’t have to be in a long line to get your disability claim processed,” Mikulski said.

Mikulski now leads the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

“Power doesn’t mean anything unless you exercise it with a purpose. I believe the people who are the most affected should have the most to say,” she said.

These plans have to pass the House. The senator thinks this may be the first major bipartisan legislation to pass this fall.

Earlier, the VA sent over 30 people here to Baltimore to begin working on the backlog.

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