MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R) and the nonprofit, Concerned Veterans for America, addressed ways to improve veterans’ healthcare during a townhall on Monday.

Dee Dee Phillips, the proud wife of a U.S. Army Colonel, attended the event aboard the USS Yorktown in hopes of learning about healthcare options for veterans. She said her husband is getting ready to retire after 38 years of service.

“As a veteran it’s a little more difficult or different. We’re learning that right now as my husband starts his transition period,” Phillips said.

Rep. Mace and CVA primarily focused on timely access to quality healthcare during the event. Long wait times at Veterans Affairs clinics were mentioned several times.

“There should be no wait. Just like any private citizen, these men and women were willing to take a bullet for our country, we should be doing everything in our power to ensure that their healthcare is taken care of,” said Rep. Mace.

Back in 2018, the VA MISSION Act was passed, allowing veterans to see an outside healthcare provider under certain circumstances. However, as told by panelists during the townhall, there has been a lack of transparency from the VA in ensuring veterans know about these rights.

CVA is working to raise awareness.

“I think the most significant question could be to someone in the VA: ‘if I can be trusted to complete a military mission, when I was in the military, if I can be trusted to obtain a military objective, why can I not then choose the physician or doctor that I want to see?’” asked Frank Bullock, the Strategic Director for Concerned Veterans for America in South Carolina.

Vets had the opportunity to meet with Rep. Mace who said she will work to solve the issues by pushing legislation forward.

“It’s so hard to fire these bureaucrats at the VA but the bureaucrats are the ones getting in the way of progress for our vets and we’ve got to take care of it,” the congresswoman told News 2.

Back in May, Rep. Mace and two other lawmakers introduced the PLUS for Veterans Act of 2023. The bill aims to protect veterans from fraud, abuse and bad actors when seeking VA disability benefits. She also filed another bill around the same time, to provide housing options for vets experiencing homelessness.

To learn more about CVA and how to get involved, click here.