SEMINOLE, Fla. - Congressman David Jolly said the crisis within Veterans Affairs needs to be dealt with right now and opened his Seminole office doors Tuesday morning to hear from the people affected most; veterans and their families.
"The negligence of a bureaucracy led to the deaths of our own people," said Jolly.
He says it's all about short and long term fixes to ensure an overhaul that's desperately needed to change the way veterans are treated at VA hospitals and clinics across the country. Countless deaths have been attributed to lengthy wait times at VA medical centers, five of them traced back to Florida.
Derrick Peeples said he is one of the veterans who have been getting the runaround.
"What I really hope to do today is not just to help myself but to help all the veterans nationwide through the VA system," said Derrick Peeples, a retired Navy veteran who attended Tuesday's event in hopes of getting answers.
"You know the assumption when going into the service is that you will be taken care of through the VA system," said Peeples.
Peeples suffered five serious leg injuries while in active duty. Injuries that required surgery to ensure he didn't have to get part of his left leg amputated. Peeples said private doctors told him he needed leg-saving surgeries. But the VA turned him away.
"My knee had further given out after not receiving care for two weeks," said Peeples.
Peeples said much of the medical care he has received post-active duty has been on his own dime. Exactly the type of issue Congressman Jolly said he hopes to fix in the near future in a bipartisan effort to ensure the care Veterans are entitled to.
"There's certainly a lot that can be done for the veterans," said Jolly. "But I mean as far as outside sourcing medical care I think that would really be a good option for the VA."
Congressman Jolly said the overhaul that's necessary with take a bipartisan effort out of Washington, everyone working together for the common goal.