(Photo by Nick Oza)

Legion to set up veterans crisis center in West Virginia

The American Legion is sending a team of its experts to West Virginia to assist veterans in filing benefits claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and in gaining access to medical care at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, W.Va. Clarksburg's VAMC had a new-patient specialist care average wait time of 86 days and a new patient mental health care average wait time of 96 days according to an audit in early June.
Members of The American Legion’s System Worth Saving Task Force will hold a town hall meeting and set up a Veterans Crisis Command Center for local veterans and family members affected by delays in getting access to VA health care, or in getting their benefits claims adjudication.
The town hall meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 4, at American Legion Post 31, 76 Bridge St., Shinnston, W.Va. 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 will also set up a Veterans Crisis Command Center at Post 31 on Aug. 5-6. 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 at Post 31 are noon to 8 p.m. on Aug. 5 and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 6.
The American Legion, with help from VA and other organizations, has been operating week-long crisis centers for veterans and family members since early June in Phoenix, Fayetteville, N.C., El Paso, Texas, St. Louis and Fort Collins, Colo.; another crisis center will open this week in Baltimore. The Legion plans to operate such centers throughout the summer in several other cities.

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