Jeremy Hollman, 69, is a decorated military veteran. He served in both Vietnam and Iraq and received two Bronze Stars. This week he spoke out to share that his prosthetic legs were taken away after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs declined to cover the cost.
Holliman sat down with a reporter from the Clarion-Ledger and shared that he was in his room at the Veterans Home located in Collins, Mississippi, a few days before Christmas when a man entered his room and took his prosthetics.
Hollman says the VA told him that it would not cover the cost of the limbs. He added that Medicare told him he would have to pay a copay first.
“Medicare did not send me to Vietnam,” Holliman said. “I was sent there by my country…with the understanding that if something bad happened to me, that it would be covered by the VA.”
Matthew Gowan, a spokesperson for the VA spoke with Newsweek and claimed that Holliman’s claims were “highly misleading.”
Holliman says that he received his prosthetics legs in August of 2019 from a company called Hanger. Holliman said that after he received a few training lessons from Hanger staff, he was then told that the VA would not cover the cost. He was advised to also check with Medicare.
Holliman says that the paperwork from Medicare read that there would be a copay. Holliman didn’t want to pay a copay because it was his understanding that the VA would cover the costs.
“This is their responsibility,” Holliman said.
Holliman then shares that on December 23, a man came to the Veterans Home and asked him to sign paperwork for Medicare. Holliman says he refused and that the man took his prosthetics.
“VA’s Prosthetic & Sensory Aids Service, which also has more than 600 local contracts with accredited orthotic and prosthetic providers, stands ready to deliver comprehensive support to optimize health and independence of our Veterans,” Gowan said. “If eligible veterans do not wish to take advantage of these services, VA is unable to intervene and correct issues arising with personal purchases.”
Holliman says that his prosthetics were returned to him this week only after he talked to a reporter and met with a photographer. He adds that no one has explained to him why they were taken. He believes they were returned only because he spoke with the media.
The issue now is that adjustments need to be made. He can’t use the artificial limbs as they are. Holliman shares that the man who returned them stated that Hanger would not make the necessary adjustments until they are fully paid for.
Holliman just wants to return home, but he cannot do that without being able to walk with his prosthetics.
“I was here for one thing — to get my prosthetic legs, learn how to walk in ’em, and go home,” Holliman said.