By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4)– Access to medical care for U.S veterans has been an important issue in Washington since 2014. That’s when a TV news investigation found that veterans were waiting so long for care that in some cases they were dying before they ever were seen by a doctor.

That spurred the Choice Act, which gave veterans access to VA-certified health care providers outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Pres. Donald Trump signs the VA Mission Act (credit: CBS)

Jennifer Burch, an Air Force veteran, says the Choice Act was a great first step, but it wasn’t enough.

“I compared it to putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound,” said Burch.

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Jennifer Burch (credit: CBS)

Since it was enacted, the Choice Act has proved to be problematic and today, even though vets can see VA approved private sector doctors, they are still waiting a long time to get access to the healthcare they need.

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(credit: CBS)

Burch echoes the sentiment of many veterans across the nation, “It’s frustrating! It’s completely frustrating and it’s unacceptable.”

hospital bed What The VA Mission Act Really Means For Veterans

(credit: CBS)

Wednesday President Trump signed the Mission Act which will replace 2014’s Choice Act. It will expand veterans’ access to private-sector health care, and it paves the way for an overhaul of the VA.

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(credit: CBS)

Burch says bringing in more options for veteran healthcare will reduce wait times and increase the number of veterans that use their VA benefits.

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(credit: CBS)

“It’s community over competition. Let’s all work together as a community and bring it together,” said Burch. “I think this is a step in the right direction of fixing that and today we’re seeing more veterans using the VA.”

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.

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