Hawaii veterans talk doctor shortages in panel

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HONOLULU (AP) — Veterans are telling U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono they face a shortage of doctors on Maui, Molokai and the Big Island.

They told Hirono at a Tuesday hearing on Oahu that they face problems getting medical treatment across the islands.

Vietnam veteran Victor Croft calls the Veterans Affairs problems "a train wreck in slow motion." He says veterans have died for unknown reasons and that waiting to fix the problems is unacceptable.

Capt. Elisa Smithers of the Hawaii Army National Guard says she was sleeping in a closet to curb anxiety when she couldn't get treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Hirono says a bill recently signed into law includes funding to hire more health providers.

Officials say wait times for new Hawaii patients seeking appointments have been reduced to 45 days.

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