(Photo by Timothy L. Hale)

Legion's veteran crisis center coming to St. Louis

The American Legion is sending a team of its experts to St. Louis, Mo., in response to a recent Department of Veterans Affairs internal investigation that showed long wait times for veterans seeking specialist treatment in the VA St. Louis Health Care System. An internal VA investigation showed that new patients seeking specialist care were waiting an average of 86 days to see a specialist.

Members of The American Legion’s System Worth Saving Task Force will hold a town hall meeting and operate a crisis center for local veterans and family members affected by delays in getting access to their health care at the VA St. Louis Health Care System.

The town hall meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on July 14 at the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, 1315 Chestnut St., St Louis. The meeting is open to the general public, and local veterans are encouraged to attend – especially those affected by wait-time delays.

The American Legion's Veterans Crisis Command Center is July 15-18 at the St Louis University School of Law Clinic, 100 No. Tucker Blvd., Suite 726, St. Louis. Members of the Legion’s national staff, along with local Legionnaires, staff from VA facilities and volunteers from other organizations will be on hand to assist veterans and their families. Services provided will include assistance in filing for VA appointment scheduling, grief counseling, benefits claims, and help with enrollment in VA health care.

Operating hours for the crisis center are noon to 8 p.m. on July 15, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the 16th and 17th, and 8 a.m. to noon on the 18th.

The American Legion, with help from the VA and other organizations, has been operating week-long crisis centers for veterans and family members since early June in Phoenix, Fayetteville, N.C., and El Paso, Texas; another is going on in Fort Collins, Colo., July 15-18. The Legion plans to operate such centers throughout the summer in several cities affected by delayed VA health care.