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Transportation funding changes at VA put caregivers in a bind

DENVER — Caregivers said changes in transportation funding at the Department of Veterans Affairs is costing caregivers time and money as they struggle to find ways to get veterans where they need to be.

The changes rolled out on October 1. Under the changes, the VA no longer provides Community Adult Health Care sites with transportation reimbursement.

Caregiver Anthony Tracy relays on Access-A-Ride to get his father-in-law, a veteran with dementia, to an adult day program five days a week. Before the changes, his father-in-law could ride the Access-A-Ride bus to the program by himself — a time and stress saver for Tracy and his wife who both work full-time.

Since October 1, Tracy said his family has had to pay $60 a week in Access-A-Ride tickets. It’s left them feeling frustrated.

“It’s a shame there are going to be sacrifices made,” said Tracy. “Considering there are tons of sacrifices made in everyday life when it comes to being a caregiver.”

The FOX31 Problem Solvers contacted the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System. Spokesperson Brandy Morrison said 87 veterans were impacted by the changes. Since then, 53 veterans have been able to enroll in an alternative program and get reimbursed for transportation. However, 34 veterans no longer qualify for the free rides.

“We do understand that this change has had an impact on our Veterans and their families. We are committed to working with them and our community partners to identify the best way forward for the 34 impacted Veterans,” said Morrison.

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