DENVER — Famed talk show host, and Marine veteran, Montel Williams says the Obama administration and the Defense Department must act urgently to clear the backlog of veterans waiting to see doctors at veteran’s hospitals.
Appearing on Good Day Colorado, Williams said he wants to see a surge in resources to help veterans.
“Four years ago in Afghanistan when we weren’t getting the job done, the President said ‘Please. Please. Please. Congress give me the money to surge.’ We spent $60 billion dollars sending troops over to Afghanistan,” Williams said. “Right now we need a surge to clear the back log of all of our veterans tomorrow.”
The Department of Veteran Affairs has admitted that veterans have waited for appointments for more than 30 days at VA hospitals and clinics. This week the VA said they are working to reduce the wait time.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a comprehensive review of the military health care system on Tuesday.
Under the initiative, reviews have been ordered of each VA facility to determine whether it can handle its current patient load.
This includes examining whether VA clinics need to extend hours or approve overtime so more veterans can be seen.
The reviews are expected to be completed by Friday, according the VA.
The most disturbing problems emerged at the Phoenix VA, with sources revealing details of a secret waiting list. According to the sources, at least 40 American veterans died while waiting for care at the VA there.
Williams has been a loud proponent for veteran’s rights in the wake of the controversy.
He became visibly choked up while delivering a speech addressing the ongoing Veterans Affairs scandal at a Memorial Day picnic in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
He shared the same emotion during the Good Day interview.
“We have soldiers dying on a daily basis just because they can’t go see a doctor,” Williams said. “You promised me that if I go put this uniform on and take a bullet, you will take care of me. And all you do is lie to me.”
Williams said he wants to spread people to spread the word about his surge idea using the hashtag #VAsurge on Facebook and Twitter.
“Get it done,” he said.