Fayetteville veteran waiting since 2016 for VA to pay medical bills

FAYETTEVILLE, NC (WTVD) -- A Fayetteville veteran is frustrated over what it takes for the Department of Veteran Affairs to pay approved medical bills.

Gary Goodwin has the written proof from the VA stating they would pay the bills, yet more than a year and a half after the incident he is still waiting.

Gary says the problem started in the summer of 2016 while he was at the beach and needed emergency medical care.

Unfortunately, there was no VA option available to seek medical care on a Friday night.

After getting checked out at the hospital, everything was medically OK.

Gary said right away we reached to the VA and let him know that he received medical care outside of the VA, and requested they approve the episode of care for his July 2016 visit.

In January of 2017, Gary received a letter from the VA confirming they would pay for that treatment he received outside of the VA.

However, months later the medical bills were still not paid by the VA.

Gary said, "If they make a promise like this in writing that they are going to pay for verified care, then they should go ahead and pay."

He then started receiving letters of collections over the unpaid bills.

"This is not something I did, this is something the VA did, and I think they need to take care of it," said Gary.

It got worse when one of the medical providers attached the unpaid debt to his credit report.

After more than a year of waiting for the VA to pay the unpaid medical bills, Gary reached out to me.

"I just want the VA to get in there, get these bills paid and do whatever they need to do to get this off my credit report," he said.

I got in touch with the Fayetteville VA who provided this statement:

"The length of time it has taken to pay the claim is unacceptable. Last Thursday Veteran Goodwin met with one of our staff, and we explained the steps we are taking to get this resolved. We are reviewing now where the process went wrong to prevent it from happening to other Veterans. In the interim, we are committed to resolving any billing concerns Veteran Goodwin has so he can focus on his health and well-being. "

Gary confirmed a representative with the VA met with him.

The VA did pay several of the unpaid bills from July of 2016. One is still outstanding, but Gary says the VA has promised to take care of it.

Gary said it's frustrating the lengths he's had to go to try and get these bills paid.

He said he couldn't be happier with the medical care he receives at the VA, but this experience has been disappointing.

He's hopeful speaking out will help other veterans who may be dealing with these delays too.
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