In the News

AYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A local veteran says he was turned away from the VA when he tried to bring his young son to an appointment with him.

As part of the VA’s COVID-19 guidelines, visitors under the age of 18 are not allowed in with the patients,
a condition that’s put former Marine Darin Hinman, a stay at home dad, between a rock and a hard place.

Hinman, father of a two-year-old boy, has been receiving care from the VA for an injury he sustained back when he was on active duty.

Due to VA COVID-19 protocols, children are not allowed in with patients, which is tough on Hinman, since he’s a stay-at-home dad.

“He goes with me wherever I go,” Hinman said of his son.

Hinman said up until recently, the VA has been accommodating his treatment through community care referrals, a program that covered care outside of the VA — but now that’s no longer an option.

“I really had no way to get care when I bring my son with me and they turn me away at the door,” Hinman said.

Hinman didn’t think he’d be able to solve the problem until Senator John Boozman got involved and got Hinman back on the community care referral program so that now he can care for his two-year-old.

“The good news is we were able to contact the VA,” Senator Boozman said. “They heard the situation, and to their credit they were able to make a workaround to get this situation worked out.”

The Fayetteville VA released a statement on the situation. 

“We offer a number of virtual modalities and options to receive care from the comfort of one’s home. We are happy to work on any individual’s situation to make sure they are seen in a timely manner.” -FAYETTEVILLE VA

Nonetheless, Hinman can’t help but worry about all the parents who have found themselves in a similar situation.

“I know there are a lot of vets out there that don’t have medical insurance and their primary care is the VA and they have no way to get treatment,” he said.

The Veteran Healthcare System of the Ozarks also made sure to say it would never deny care to a veteran and the measures it has in place are for the safety of its patients, staff, and visitors.

Read the story on KNWA.com.