They risked their lives to serve our country, but many veterans have trouble accessing the medical services they need.
Rockford resident Anthony Cassioppi served his country in WWII, "I was beginning to think I was in the Navy. I was in three invasions,” says Cassioppi.
That was more than 40 years ago, but the 90-year-old is taking advantage of VA benefits for the first time.
"I'm here for the prescription drug benefits. I don't want anything else,” Cassioppi says.
Some vets have waited more than a year for an appointment at Rockford’s VA clinic. But through a partnership with the veteran's administration and the University of Illinois Family Health Center, 500 vets will see doctors here in the coming year.
"It's helping the veterans. Plus it helps us in the fact that it gives our residents more patients to see and more experience. They're here to learn and this is going to help them."
By seeing a doctor through the VA system Mr. Cassioppi qualifies for the prescription drug program.
"I take a lot of prescription drugs. It's just creeping up on me,” Cassioppi says.
Mr. Cassioppi says he waited just four months for his appointment and he was pleasantly surprised by that.
This year the Rockford VA Clinic served 22 percent more veterans than in 2001. Vets who qualify for the University of Illinois program will be notified.