Many of you have asked where I stand with Veterans' Issues. I am a Viet Nam Era Air Force Veteran and have always worked hard for services for our County’s Veterans - who historically have been underserved. Veterans’ issues were one of my top priorities when I served as County Judge. I appointed an Hidalgo County Veterans Affairs Committee made up of Veterans' Advocates from around the county and gave them the direction of focusing on two main issues: a State Veteran’s Nursing Home and a State Veteran’s Cemetery. Before my term was up, both were approved and construction was authorized. Today, we have the Alfredo Gonzalez Veteran’s Home and the RGV State Veteran’s Cemetery.
My commitment does not stop here. Currently, one of the most serious problems facing Veterans’ is timely and quality health care. I have heard many stories of how long it takes Veterans to be authorized for critical life saving services such as approval for an MRI or to see a specialist – I’m talking up to 9 months to a year. This is how people die of cancer and other diseases that need immediate attention. This bureaucratic delay is ridiculous and our men and women who have served our country deserve much better than this.
I want to create a Payment Guarantee Voucher Program for Veterans for conditions that might be classified as Questionable. The County would then be reimbursed by the VA upon full authorization. Prolonging access to necessary diagnostics and treatment just makes our vets sicker. Many things can be done to help our vets – it just takes a full time Judge who is committed to finding creative solutions to problems in our County. This is my pledge to you.