Colorado veterans battle for health care

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Torrey and Dan ShannonSome Colorado veterans say they're fighting a new battle when it comes to getting health care. They say scheduling a doctor's appointment through the Veterans Administration can take months and seeing a specialist takes even longer.

Federal inspectors recently cited a Fort Collins Veterans Administration clinic for covering up scheduling delays. Similar problems have been uncovered at the VA hospital in Phoenix, Ariz.

Last week, NPR’s Robert Siegel interviewed General Eric Shinseki, head of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, about these problems. Shinseki said he’s taking further steps based on the findings in Fort Collins.

“I have directed...a system-wide look of exactly what's the status of our scheduling program and how are we doing at implementing the policies and the standards that we've laid out for ourselves," Shinseki told Siegel.

The American Legion, a national veterans group, and the American Legion's Colorado branch are calling for Shinseki’s resignation.

Meanwhile, Torrey Shannon of Westcliffe, Colo., says she has seen the VA problems first-hand. She serves as a liaison between the state chapter of the American Legion and the Colorado VA. Shannon also cares for her husband, Dan, who was injured in a gunfight in Iraq in 2004 and has struggled to get medical care from the VA.

CPR contacted the VA in Colorado but a spokesperson declined to comment before the VA completes its investigation.