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  #1  
Old 9 December 2016, 07:30
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Good vs Bad VA facilities?

Seems there is quite a discrepancy between facilities. Horror stories from some, and good stories from others.

So maybe a thread on where the good ones are and the bad ones are.

Danville, Illinois......seems to be pretty good. And good reports from other vets who go there as well.

Outpatient clinic, primary care in Lafayette, Indiana. Horror stories from before with Dr. Chow, who was relieved. I would say 50/50 now. Seems like all they do there is refer you to either Danville, or put you on medications.

St. Louis? Not so much. Real horror stories.

Indianapolis...have heard 50/50.
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Old 9 December 2016, 08:29
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Asheville NC has a great VA hospital and domiciliary. Short lines, great medical service, friendly employees.

I can't speak to their admin front end, as I've never dealt with them locally.
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Old 9 December 2016, 10:23
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With the little I have to do with the Kansas City Hospital, it has been good to me. Some things like a chiropractor are ridiculous, but I had access to physical therapy, emergency room etc within a reasonable time period. I hate to say, but I have heard many a malingerer floating around there looking for whatever they can get for free.
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Old 9 December 2016, 10:50
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My experience with the Robley Rex VA hospital in Louisville is a mixed bag. On the one hand the hospital building itself is great, and was built to replace the building I remember visiting both my WWII Veteran papaws in. The old building rivaled Waverly Hills in every way with its haunting features. There are still some of the old buildings on the grounds I would personally like to see upgraded simply because they are depressing to even sit in while waiting for an appointment.

As far as the staff goes, it's a mixed bag of apathy vs. sympathy. But, as has been mentioned in other threads and TFG above, there are Vets around on a daily basis I'm sure who treat the staff like ass, that will wear on a person after awhile and I get it. There are also staff who each time I'm in there are just plain rude to people often enough it can't just be chalked up to having a bad day.

I've learned to look at the results rather than personalities, because a couple of the people I thought were complete jerks actually did a very solid job. Horror stories aside, I have learned to ignore much in the way of looking for a feel-good experience where finding a happy place is concerned, and focusing on whether I'm getting the desired result. I can understand the need for kind and caring staff at certain levels and clinics dealing with terminal illness, but the asshole x-ray tech just needs to take a good picture in as few attempts as possible and move on to the next victim.

On a scale of 1-10 I give the building itself an 8, it could be a bit easier to navigate IMO. The staff situation is a 50/50 with me since I have had to go back and redo exams because someone blatantly chose to ignore what was on the screen right in front of them to the point they were reprimanded by a review board. In the end all worked out well, but was a PITA for me having to go back down there to do something which I was already there for and should have been done.
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Last edited by Headshot; 9 December 2016 at 10:54. Reason: content
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Old 9 December 2016, 11:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Fat Guy View Post
With the little I have to do with the Kansas City Hospital, it has been good to me. Some things like a chiropractor are ridiculous, but I had access to physical therapy, emergency room etc within a reasonable time period. I hate to say, but I have heard many a malingerer floating around there looking for whatever they can get for free.
Never thought I would need a chiropractor. But, a recent issue was resolved very professionally and very cheerfully. I am grateful one was there as even most private insurance doesn't cover one. I have always used VA for physical therapy as my experience in the private sector as always been crap because of HMOs. I'm sure there are good theraputic services available, but the constant interference between doctor, patient and therapist from the HMO I could afford was prohibitive. Having said that, you cant write a prescription for exercise and for the most part exercise IS free. I have always noticed malingerers in many capacities stop being interested in what is free once they are expected to make a personal committment.

Also, another good thing about physical therapy through the VA is that my medical records don't end up being spread all over hell's half acre. When you change HMOs, the same doctor's are not always available and that causes the specialist to change sometimes too. The end effect is that my history is so piecemeal that I can barely find them again...and then have to PAY them to make copies for me.

Last edited by rhea; 9 December 2016 at 11:54.
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Old 9 December 2016, 12:21
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Martinsburg WV VA has been OK during my visits there. I don't see many complaints against them unlike the Richmond VA location.
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  #7  
Old 9 December 2016, 12:51
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Durham VA tends to be fairly good (from a care standpoint, not getting into any of the admin and logistics issues).

Many of the docs are Duke physicians.
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  #8  
Old 9 December 2016, 12:57
Erk1015 Erk1015 is offline
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I had a shit experience as an inpatient at Indianapolis. They overdosed me on Tylenol and messed up my liver, performed a needle biopsy that resulted in nerve damage, and gave me a transfusion of O pos even though I'm O neg (not the worst thing in the world but their reasoning was that they didn't want to waste O neg blood). To top it all off I had a nurse tell me I was a junkie and I didn't really need pain meds for the massive DVT in my leg. We later found the DVT was caused by a tumor the size of a cantaloupe in my pelvis that the VA missed.

On the plus side I did have two really good nurses there that were former military and the infectious disease doc was really good about keeping me informed.
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  #9  
Old 9 December 2016, 13:21
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Relevant Link

Facility ratings
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  #10  
Old 9 December 2016, 13:24
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Looks like my VA gets a 3 star rating.
Lucky for some of you there are 5 star ones out there
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  #11  
Old 9 December 2016, 13:34
8654maine 8654maine is offline
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From a different perspective:

I did some time as a med student, intern and resident at VA hospitals in White River Jct and Providence, RI.

I had a wonderful time dealing with the patients and learned many things. When they learned of my prior service, they opened up and taught me many things. They made my life as a physician more rewarding than the civilian hospitals.

I also learned to not trust certain folks and hated dealing with the paperwork and administrative side.
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  #12  
Old 9 December 2016, 13:45
Gsniper Gsniper is online now
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I used the Salem Va VA some right after I retired. (3 star rating) Didn't have any problems with anybody being rude to me or anything, but what I did find was a serious reluctance to really fix anything. Ended up having to go civ care to get issues resolved. The wait times weren't awful, but far from quick.
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  #13  
Old 9 December 2016, 13:50
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The VA hospital in Charleston SC, in my experience, is a red tape machine more than a treatment facility. The doctors and nurses are OK, but anything involving paperwork is guaranteed to take forever and still be wrong on the first three attempts anyway. According to one of the doctors there, the consults they submit to specialty departments are routinely denied, and every consult to orthopedics in the last six months has been denied. From May until October of this year, there wasn't a single physician in the primary care department, just a rotation of traveling PAs. I tried in August to get an appointment to see my primary care physician, and had to wait until December for an appointment, which turned out to be a PA who was just passing through. I waited four hours one Saturday to be seen in the emergency department, only to be referred to orthopedics and then have my referral denied. They even denied my travel pay once because the nurse recorded the complaint as foot pain, and my disability is listed as involving my ankles, and ankles are not feet, so the foot pain must not be service connected. If you are close enough to use the Ralph Johnson VA in Charleston, it might be worth your while to drive an extra three hours to the VA in Asheville since they sound like they may actually have their crap together.
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  #14  
Old 9 December 2016, 13:53
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Muskogee has an older building that's been expanded so many times it's a maze.

The care I've had there has been great. Spent 3 days in ICU once, and the nurses were great.

Communication sucks though, but I think that's systemic in the VA. They have the VA web site, a facility web site, and the HealtheVet thing. There's no reason they can't integrate all 3 of those in to one useful site or page where all of your care info and facility news sits in one location.

And I shouldn't find out when I walk in to an appointment that my doc quit six weeks ago. There's no reason that can't go out as an email or "Secure Message."
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  #15  
Old 9 December 2016, 15:18
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I wanted to add a bit of a disclaimer to this thread for those who haven't entered the matrix yet. VA hospitals and VA primary clinics are 2 different wings of the same bird. Once you enter the system you will have to set up a first appointment where they will do labs (blood and urine) then make an appointment for you with a clinic which is not the hospital. My experience with the clinic has been favorable, and like most doctors offices the wait is subject to the same variables as any doctor. Don't neglect getting in the system because of bad reports from certain places, there are thousands of malpractice suits in the private sector every year, we just done hear about them all because they aren't the VA.
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Old 9 December 2016, 18:26
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I withdrew from the VA system 15 years ago.
I had a neighbor, Korean War Vet, USMC (RIP) who I took care of.
He had a bad wrist that he injured in the service. Local VA clinic sent him to the VA hospital in Lake City, FL. That hospital, in turn, sent him to VAMC in Gainesville, FL. I drove him down there 4 times along the way. The day of his surgery was the first time he met his Doctor. Post Op - the Doctor never saw him. All the preliminaries and all of the post ops were handled by NPs. In fact, VA had done additional procedures on his hand that he was not informed about and had not consented to. He had a series of small cuts up and down the tendons into his fingers.
Bottom line, we took several travel days and a lot of time to get the procedure done - would have been much cheaper to just outsource it locally instead of all the four hour drives - but that is how they keep themselves employed. YMMV
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Old 9 December 2016, 21:29
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I use the Phoenix VA, the main hospital (the one they show on the news all the time)

So far my primary care (had a NP, now an MD) have been for shit.
Neither one will listen, and the NP even kept trying to tell me about my knee surgery (I've never had knee surgery) and that was causing my pain.

She also kept insisting I had COPD last year, I finally went to the VA ER and sure as shit, it was bronchitis just like I thought.

The VA ER has been great, when it came to the bronchitis they actually listened to me, ran the tests and prescribed the meds, I was no shit in and out of there in under an hour with chest x-rays and pharmacy.

Same deal with the ER when I got into a car wreck, I wasn't bad immediately after but a few hours later decided I need to go ahead and get checked out, numerous x-rays, and face time with the nurse and doc, I was still in and out in under 2 hours with a trip to the pharmacy.

Cardiology, shit, had a MUGA scan, tells me all is well, doesn't listen to me telling him if I sit for more than 15 minutes at my desk without getting up that when I do stand I get dizzy to the point of nearly passing out or that walking up a flight of stairs does the same shit. I'm trying to get a 2nd opinion and a stress test to see what's going on, no joy so far.

Physical therapist - Awesome, great guy who really cares

Doctor who checked me before my sleep study, the people who did the sleep study and the people who send me my CPAP supplies have been incredible, they have actually called me to see how it's working out and if I need supplies.

The lower level people (x-ray techs, phlebotomists etc etc) have been good to go (a lot of students).

The primary care people (mostly NPs) have been for shit, arrogant and condescending comes to mind, I've dealt with most of my health issues for 20 plus years, I know when something is not "normal" for me, but they won't take 2 minutes to even listen.

One more, my last C&P examiner, that fucker didn't listen to a word I said (figured it out when I saw his hearing aid near the end of the exam), so consequently nothing I told him made it into the record correctly for the rater to see.
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Old 9 December 2016, 23:53
orca8589 orca8589 is offline
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Martinez, CA (VA Northern California Health Care System) has been great so far. My PCP is very attentive when I see her, but most or all phone or email communications are through her assistants. (I guess that's normal protocol.) Any tests I need are scheduled pretty quickly, usually within a couple weeks, and results are communicated to me within a day or two.

I haven't had to have any major procedures done, so I can't speak to that end of it.

The only complaints I have are:

1. While communications directly from my doctor's office are immediate and consistent... the admin offices don't seem to be able to communicate for sh!t. They remind me of the Vogons in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

2. The pharmacy insists on mailing all prescriptions, and almost never post updates on shipping status. Mail theft is a problem here, and I and several other vets have complained loudly about the problems mailing causes us. The pharmacy staff are great, very attentive and professional (even when they're treated like yesterday's garbage) but their hands are tied too.

~Chris
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  #19  
Old 10 December 2016, 00:36
bobmueller bobmueller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orca8589 View Post
2. The pharmacy insists on mailing all prescriptions, and almost never post updates on shipping status.
I get my meds by mail, from the Tennessee facility, and they're great about sending shipping updates. Every time, without fail, I get the shipping notice the day after the meds arrive.

Every. Time.
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  #20  
Old 10 December 2016, 23:03
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I have used services in the Atlanta, Ga and Shreveport, La hospitals. I would agree with the Star ratings so far as the Atlanta hospital was better then the Shreveport hospital. The Clinic in Oakwood GA was far better than the Texarkana AR clinic. Ga did most meds by mail with 3 month prescriptions and sent more than one med. in each envelope LA does not. I was referred from the clinic in AR to the LA hospital for an "emergency" appointment and the date I got was August and not Mid-June. Bet hey what is 10 weeks for a serious issue?
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