ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — For millions of veterans in rural America, the challenges of accessing an overburdened and scandal-plagued health care system go beyond having to wait months to land an appointment.
Transportation adds another dimension to the problems they face.
Hundreds of miles often lie between doctor's offices and veterans in small towns from Oregon to Pennsylvania. For anything worse than a common cold, local clinics are often helpless, and it can take hours behind the wheel for vets to get adequate care.
Lawmakers in some states have been talking about how to fill the gaps, and the Veterans Affairs Department has been working to expand transportation options throughout its system, but New Mexico — one of the largest and most rural states — has yet to make the list.