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Dear VA – Sorry, but you still Suck

Dear Congress and the VA:

I’m not a dying vet (yet) that you have abandoned.  But I am a vet (Navy) and I did have a medical issue and you did abandon me.

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You gave me VA health care coverage under the Veterans Choice Act because they are not accepting new patients at my local VA facilities.  In theory you said I can go receive care by a non-VA provider.  Sounds great right?

WRONG

I managed to break my thumb by smashing it between a sledge hammer and a steel fence post.  (OK my bad….but stuff happens, you know?)

I went to my primary care doctor who cleaned and examined the wound and had it x-rayed.  He told me, “You broke your thumb.  You need to go to orthopedics to get it treated.  We already have an appointment set up for you this afternoon.”

Not long afterwards his office called me back and told me I couldn’t go to orthopedics because the VA has to approve the referral first.

I called the Veterans Choice program and asked them if the referral had been approved yet.  They told me, “No.  It may take up to 14 days.”  I said, “You have got to be joking?  I can’t wait two weeks!  I have a broken thumb.”  They told me to go to my nearest hospital emergency room because the VA would pay for that.

How stupid is this?

They are trying to save money by having some moron in a cubicle who doesn’t know me or my doctor decide what kind of medical care I should receive.  Instead they send me to the ER.  I’m sure that saved them tons of money.

So I went to the ER.  for the privilege of having a trainee ER tech fit me with a gigantic fiberglass splint that went halfway up my arm.  The ER doc said I should see an orthopedic hand surgeon as soon as possible.

BrokenThumb

In the meantime, I called Veterans Choice, VA patient advocacy, and the VA non-VA billing department multiple times to try to get the orthopedic referral approved.  Everyone told me how sorry they were and thanked me for my service.  But no one said “you’re approved”.

So, it has now been nine days and still nothing.  Still waiting on whoever to finish their box of donuts, or come back from a smoke break or whatever and do their job.

Again, my issue was a minor one, so I feel really, really sorry for any veteran out there who has serious health problems that is dependent on the VA healthcare system.

People:  This is an example of socialism, socialized medicine and central control.  It’s been tried.  It doesn’t work.  It sucks.

Well, what do you think?  Am I being too critical? (I don’t think so!)  Are you a vet or do you know a vet who has had a bad experience with the VA?

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