Discussion: Veterans Around The Country Describe VA Experiences

Discussion for article #223360

Look carefully at the real complaints listed here, by the very people who suffered… and consider the huge role misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis played in most of the problems.

And then let me once again pose four-decade old my argument for state of the art, public financed FEDERAL AND STATE DIAGNOSTIC CLINICS, that EVERYONE, especially Vets, would have access to as their FIRST LEVEL OF CARE, not the third or fourth.

Clinics that do JUST DIAGNOSIS, WITH ZERO TREATMENT!!!

The people would go to their own doctor with the information gleaned by these People-owned clinics. No doctors would be able to invest in public clinics the way they do corporations specializing in the diagnosis process, taking that conflict of interest out of the expensive loop it now creates. And that conflict is at the root of what’s the matter with medicine in the USA.

And these clinics would not be subject to the kind OF LIABILITY INSURANCE COSTS that plague some practices, because they would only diagnose, not treat, conditions and illnesses. Then the patients would take that information to their primary care doctor(s). Or better yet, TEAM of doctors and nurses. And the doctors would not be able to defer or delay that diagnosis, although certainly they might order more specialized testing at those same clinics.

This little bit of socialized medicine applied to the whole system would overcome the diagnostic runaround, which represents one of the private sector’s biggest strangleholds on our whole healthcare system, and one of the primary drivers for the continual upward trajectory of our healthcare costs. Especially in terms of new technology, the fact that all our diagnosis structure is owned and managed by private companies IS THE REASON THERE ARE DELAYS! Their profits are their first concern and everything is managed from that false standard, which they have abvused even by all the unwritten laws of capitalism, gouging mercilessly whenever the opportunity arises. Their greed far outweighs their civic duty.

And that is the very crux of our healthcare cost-spiral.

If every rural county had a state/and or federal (they should learn to work as one) sponsored diagnostic clinic, the question of profitability would not inhibit the diagnostic part of thealthcare.

STATE AND FEDERAL DIAGNOSTIC CLINICS!!! JUST READ THIS ARTICLE AGAIN, WITH THAT THOUGHT IN MIND, AND let it sink in. If we are going to invest billions in healthcare, as a taxpaying community, then let do it right and take the runaround out of the diagnostic process.

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My heart goes out to these Vets but…I don’t see anything here that doesn’t happen if you go to a ‘private’ doctor. Arrogance by doctors? Check. Misdiagnosis? Check. (ever heard of ‘second opinion’)? Wait times are a problem and need to be addressed. ESPECIALLY for first time/catastrophic health issues. What I know for SURE, is that with the backlog Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been given priority and I would like to know how many Vietnam Vets or older are the ones waiting. My brother-in-law lost his leg in Vietnam. Ever since 1968 he has gotten first class treatment and prosthetics. With the amount of wounded that came back from Iraq he had to wait several years to get a new leg. He was seen by the VA, he was tested to make sure he wasn’t getting worse, but he didn’t receive a new leg because all available were going to the ‘new’ injuries. After years of having a leg, he was on crutches again because the rubbing hurt his stub. BUT he understood how important it was to get these young wounded vets up and moving. Eventually, his turn came up and he’s back walking on a new leg.

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The level of care and wait times experienced by these brave veterans is in line with the level of care and wait times experienced by various friends in Europe and Canada. In those Nations where it’s the government that oversees and administer health care, the same situations arise. Because of no accountability among it’s ranks, no government can efficiently and conveniently manage without creating disastrous situations.

By all objective measurements, our friends in Europe and Canada whose health care is overseen and/or administered by their governments get a better level of care than we do, and at about half the cost. They have longer life expectancy, fewer days of work lost to illness and injury, fewer hospitalizations, etc., etc.

The notion that private sector healthcare is superior is simply a myth.

And when it comes to health insurance, the differences are even more stark. The typical private health insurer has overhead expenses (i.e. premium dollars that don’t actually go towards paying for medical care) of 22% - 25%. Medicare’s overhead is under 2%. There’s no mystery about why - the executives who run Medicare aren’t pulling down multi-million-dollar salaries. There are no shareholders expecting dividends. No one is trying to make Medicare show a profit.

“Oh, I don’t want some government bureaucrat deciding what care I can get.” So, you’d rather have some private health insurance bureaucrat making those decisions, someone whose bonus is tied to how many claims he can turn down?

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Isn’t ANYONE recognizing the overwhelming influx of Vets because
of the two wars? And no increase in facilities or funds? The lack of
Doctors? You see a different Doctor each visit when you do get in
the system And most times a resident or intern. The HoR has rejected every
opportunity to help this situation ae now piling on people so overwhelmed it has come to “do something even if it is wrong”. Have any of the people complaining about the VA, other than Vets,
ever been to a VA? What private hospitalhas men and women in their lobby missing arms and legs and other parts of their bodies damaged? How many with PTSD and TBI injuries? Agent Orange caused cancers and illnesses caused while serving in Desert Storm? These problems began under the “leadership, or lack of”, Principi and Nicholson. They emptied the cubbard and it still hasn’t been restocked enough. Sure there has been increases in funding! But not enough for facilities and medical personell to keep up The VA has been shoveling shit against the tide for many years. not just the last 7.

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http://www.fraserinstitute.org/uploadedFiles/fraser-ca/Content/research-news/research/publications/reducing-wait-times-for-health-care.pdf

I’m sure this varies by location. I go to a VAMC in the Chicago area and could not be happier. The appointments with my primary care doctor are automatically set up every three months. I did have to reschedule one a few months ago. So, I called on Thursday telling them I could not come on Friday and they offered me a Monday appointment. Some of the specialists (not all) take longer; but, I have never tried to get an appointment where there was any significant wait. Again, most of them are set up automatically. I am at the VAMC regularly. I am set up with a team and see the same primary care physician and specialists when I go in; except in pulmonary. 100% disabled. Absolutely, none of the headaches that I would encounter outside the VA. I’m in a wheelchair, cannot drive and call their transportation dept. for pickup and return and have a great VA social worker to answer questions that may come up.
Although I have read about claims backlogs, any claim I have filed have been completed in 30 to 45 days MAX.

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Wonderful. Their “solution” is to let wealthy people pay for faster access to care. Let the big dogs eat. More brilliance from a right-wing/libertarian “think tank.”

How nice that our suffering gets you off.

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I don’t dispute the problems at the VA, or that the essentially Republican cause in waging unfunded wars for no good reason and then under funding.

But 66 year old Vietnam veteran Dan Dominey is old enough for Medicare and can get cheap treatment that way.

(And why [o repeat myself for about the tenth time] do the comments shunt to a separate discussion page requiring another jump to get to plus knowing what to click to find them, when they actually work which is not all the time, and why am I seeing a copy of what I am typing right now over there on the right, only in a different type face? Why if I reply on the actual comment page do my comments display in one endless line making them a pain to review?)

I use the VA Healthcare system and have been since 1999. For the most part they take pretty good care of me but you do have to fight with them sometimes and it’s best to be proactively involved in your treatment.
I had a similar experience to Army veteran Patrick Browne’s experience when after years of teetering on the brink of being diagnosed a diabetic in November of 2008, and this is actually a little bit of a diversion from what I originally wanted to say but is kind of connected, I had gotten a flu shot by my primary care doctor and a few days later I got seriously ill and my blood sugar shot up over 500 and was then finally diagnosed as diabetic.
I called the Nurse Helpline and she told me I should go to the emergency room but since I didn’t have any additional insurance I didn’t want to be saddled with an outrageous bill from the hospital so I told her I would call the local VA satellite clinic in Kingston, NY about 15 minutes from me and when I did the clinic refused to see me because they said my primary care doctor was not in their VISN.
The director of the clinic even hung up on me so I was forced to drive the hour and a half to the Veterans Hospital that I usually go to.
By the time I made it there I was almost dead I was so weak. But that wasn’t what I was going to originally comment on but it happened along the way to being diagnosed as diabetic and lead to a confrontations with a VA endocrinologist similar to veteran Browne’s.
My grandfather died of insulin dependent diabetes and when I told the doctor that he told me that had nothing to do with whether or not I would develop diabetes, that after reading the information placard in the waiting room on diabetes that specifically stated that if you had a family history of diabetes then you where at a high risk on developing the disease.
Now at the time I was going to college studying Environmental Science with an emphasis in Chemistry and Biology so when I questioned his assertion that I wasn’t at risk he immediately copped an attitude and the conversation then quickly devolved into comparing our educational backgrounds against one another with him saying at one point, so you think you know more than I do?
At which point I replied “no but I do have a background in Biology”! Well the conversation just went from bad to worse and after I left his office I immediately called my primary care doctor and told him what happened and asked him for a consult to another Endocrinologist, telling him I didn’t want to see this doctor again so that was the last time I saw him.
Another VA doctor I was working with at the time told me was a veteran as well and apparently had a reputation for being an ahe.
From what I understand a few months later took a job somewhere else.
But that’s what I mean about you need to be proactive in your care.
Other than incidents like that overall they do take pretty good care of me. Another area that can be a problem is filing a disability claim.

I am a 78 year old vet of both wars of 50’s and 60’s yes that’ both Nam and Korea have a service connected injury and have been treated at the VA for years received excellent treatment. The question is if you sickness was so bad and you had to wait why didn’t you seek outside medical help???

President Obama and Joe have had nothing to do with this. If you don’t like government then return your SS Checks and tear up your Medicare card when you get them if you don’t already have them no balls if you don’t

When I lived in France, sometimes I would call the doctor in the morning and not be seen until that afternoon. Imagine that… On the other hand, here in the US, with first-rate private insurance, my wife waited 4 months for a heart procedure after her doctor said it was necessary and possibly life-saving.

You keep talking about the “end of Obama”. He isn’t going to resign and there is not the votes to impeach him, nor is misconduct by VA personnel in Phoenix, AZ grounds for impeaching a President. So, other than when his term ends in January 2017, how exactly will Obama end?

Here in Chicago, I file claims with my local PVA representative and have never waited more than 45 days. It usually takes about a month to get an answer.

You’re gonna need to do some heavy fanagling to get that to work. EVERY doctor I take results to from a different lab or diagnostic place INSISTS on having their own “people” repeat the test to make sure it’s accurate.

Always at a higher cost.

My experience has been nothing short of fantastic. The VA literally saved my life. Prior to my treatment at the VA, I had gold plated private health care. The VA finally got my blood pressure under control when private doctors had failed for 10 years. Through classes on eating properly with the VA I was able to lose 65 pounds. Literally the VA hospital system has demonstrated caring and professionalism at every level. I went to the VA hospital in San Francisco and recently to the one in Salisbury NC. Both have been everything I could have asked for and they will have my eternal thanks. I think one thing missing from all the stories is a comparison to the private health care system statistics. I think they compare well and show the VA has done well.

Yes I use the local chapter of the DAV I belong to. But that’s not really what I meant. For instance back in February of this year I had a “compensation and pension exam” and the VA tried to say that on that day I had an examination for something I did not and consequently denied me a rating based on that lie.