Disabled veteran with life-threatening heart condition pleads VA for help

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Time is running out for a disabled veteran in Colorado Springs.

Forty-four-year-old Park Major was given a terminal diagnosis in 2013 for a heart condition known as Marfan Syndrome.

When the VA said they couldn’t do the surgery, he decided to try out the Veteran’s Choice Program.

After finding a doctor that agreed to do the surgery, there was a mix-up with Health Net, the provider for the Choice Program and the VA.

As the right surgeon’s name was not on the required documents, it prevented him once again from getting the necessary surgery.

“I feel like it’s much harder to fight this battle and stay alive than it was to be in the war,” said PO3 (Ret.) Major, U.S. Navy.

He says he calls every week, hoping to get the right name on the paper.

“When I called the VA, they said it’s hard to track a large entity, like Health Net,” he said.

“There’s no question that we’re going to follow up on this particular issue and rest assure this veteran is going to be seen and get whatever it takes,” said Richard Jeffrey Tremaine, MBA, VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System, Associate Director. 

While that may be the case now, for Major he tried for three months to sort this out.

“It’s an overwhelming amount of thankfulness just to wake up, even though 90 percent of the time I’m in pain, I’ll take the pain any day just to be alive,” said Major.

The VA says they will work to get him the help he needs.

“We continue to fight for every veteran and we’re going to react appropriately, and staff are already working on this, we’ve handed the issue over to our Non-VA Care Team and I expect a resolution ASAP,” said Tremaine.

While Tremaine couldn’t speak specifically about Major’s situation because of privacy rights, he says veterans can call 720-857-5972 with issues if they’re getting Non-VA Care or are in the Choice Program.

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