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6ABC: Cooper University Hospital Offers Vets Same Day Service

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on 6ABC on June 17, 2014.

Cooper University Hospital Offers Vets Same Day Service

By Lisa Thomas-Laury

Cooper University Hospital is launching a new program to provide veterans with health care on the same day that they request it.

The action comes on the heels of complaints by vets across the country that they are waiting far too long for adequate health care.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, officials at Cooper are hoping that the Veterans VIP Priority program will serve as a national model.

Officials also hope that ultimately the U.S. Congress will make a change in healthcare legislation on behalf of veterans.

“Everyone except veterans receives their care, one way or another, through the great health care institutions in our county. Why should veterans be different?” Cooper Chairman of the Board George Norcross, III said.

Earlier this month, an audit of the Veterans Affairs system showed that 57,000 of the men and women who fought or supported wars, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and Korea, have waited at least 90 days to see a VA doctor.

“It’s been a big challenge, but I think a program of this magnitude will expedite and alleviate some of those challenges,” Reverend Floyd White, Director of the Camden County VA, said.

The average wait time for new patients seeking care within the New Jersey VA health care system is nearly 47 days.

Nearly 400 vets have been waiting 90 days or more for their first appointments at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Cooper Hospital’s new program promises vets same day service for primary care visits.

Sgt. 1st Class Julia McCoy has been treated at Cooper for cancer.

“This particular event here today is rewarding for us, that somebody cares for us,” McCoy said.

Cooper’s Veterans VIP Priority program begins on July 1st.