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Old 16 October 2016, 09:59
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Should VA Health Care be privatitized?

Both presidential candidates have said no.

Last week while at a VA clinic, the (VA) Doctor said I was a fool to have the VA as my primary doctor, while he misdiagnosed the pain in my big toe as gout. It's a frickin bunion.

I cracked two vertebra in my back in Vietnam, the record of that somehow got lost for over 20 years.

The (VA) ultrasound machine said no problem when looking at a septic gall bladder, next day I was in (non-VA) surgery, my dime.

Misdiagnosed voice box cancer, said I had acid reflex. Took over 7 months to start treatment.

I don't know how this system could be fixed, but I know it's broke.
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Old 16 October 2016, 10:04
Gsniper Gsniper is offline
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Yeah, the horror stories could go on for pages. I gave up on the VA several years ago and just go civ and use my Tricare. It costs me some money, but it's worth it to actually get some medical care.

The private sector has some issues also, but they pale in comparison to the VA, and my VA hospital is supposedly a good one.

It's pretty obvious the VA isn't going to fix itself.
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Old 16 October 2016, 14:06
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I don't know if a 100% privatization is the way to go, but I do think that access to the VA should be prioritized on need.

Take me for example, I'm rated at 0% for hypertension. Nothing too serious, just need an annual appointment to assess and my medication dispensed. That, as anyone in using the VA system knows, can quickly become about a half day of hurry up and wait when you factor in the driving time to your local VA hospital. Since I don't use the VA for anything else, and it would be too easy to let me handle my hypertension through the private sector with my everyday doctor. A fair market charge could be invoiced to the VA, which would get processed like Medicare.

Pushing routine care like that out of the VA system would free up time and resources for those who have a much greater need. The savings could be used to keep hospitals in good shape, and maybe on salary to attract better doctors for key areas (though I would want some kind of employment reform on that to get rid of under performers). I also think that independent medical groups from the private sector should be used to audit VA hospitals and put together a "fix this shit" list...maybe the cost savings could be used for that.
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Old 16 October 2016, 16:00
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^^^^ Agreed fully. There is no reason for me o go to the VA for the piddly little things that I have connected to my Mil time. I'm supposed to go in once every 6 months for that stuff and they forget every year...send me a card saying im going to lose benefits......yadayada. Its a mess. I pay out of pocket every year for physicals at a regular Doc to avoid the waits and the mess that is the VA.

I don't see why they can't cut these facilities (see Aurora Colorado VA Hospital thats half built) and issue great health care backed by the VA system, but used anywhere I'd like to go.
Similar to the VA mortgage deal. Its worked awesome for me 3 times now and although the VA implements the system, private banks do the work.
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Old 16 October 2016, 20:48
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Thumbs down VA is a disgrace

Tried going to the VA in Tampa...they refused to even LOOK at my 30+ years of medical records, wanted to go through my disability stuff and "start from the top to see if my disability list was legit" - refused to provide even a single Rx that I had been on for more than 5 years, despite having paper Rx from my PCM prior to moving here, my electronic med records, AND a letter from my Dr. for them to call him if there were any questions or issues with my chronic meds.
Didn't matter who we talked to, including talking to the head of the VA here for more than an hour (even as a provider myself), always the same answer..."Your previous medical records are irrelevant to your VA care, we need to start fresh to build your medical problem list and validate your disability rating"
Done with the headache aka "VA Healthcare"...my frustration is worth my Tricare co-pay.
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Old 16 October 2016, 21:27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gsniper View Post
Yeah, the horror stories could go on for pages. I gave up on the VA several years ago and just go civ and use my Tricare. It costs me some money, but it's worth it to actually get some medical care.

The private sector has some issues also, but they pale in comparison to the VA, and my VA hospital is supposedly a good one.

It's pretty obvious the VA isn't going to fix itself.
I get my compensation payments from the VA, but I use Tricare for all my medical needs. We are blessed in that we have a really good family practice doctor that takes good care of our entire family.
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Old 17 October 2016, 00:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ussfpa View Post
Tried going to the VA in Tampa...they refused to even LOOK at my 30+ years of medical records, wanted to go through my disability stuff and "start from the top to see if my disability list was legit" - refused to provide even a single Rx that I had been on for more than 5 years, despite having paper Rx from my PCM prior to moving here, my electronic med records, AND a letter from my Dr. for them to call him if there were any questions or issues with my chronic meds.
Didn't matter who we talked to, including talking to the head of the VA here for more than an hour (even as a provider myself), always the same answer..."Your previous medical records are irrelevant to your VA care, we need to start fresh to build your medical problem list and validate your disability rating"
Done with the headache aka "VA Healthcare"...my frustration is worth my Tricare co-pay.
TAMPA V.A. is an has been investigated BY THE V.A. IG office

Each V.A. has Release of Information Office you can go in an request all Medical records from ANY V.A. that you received treatment at also you can request your Military Medical Records, good luck with the Medical Records.

Also you can take copies of your Medical Records to the same office an ask them to Scan them in to your file.

Last edited by wildman43; 17 October 2016 at 00:30. Reason: wording
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Old 17 October 2016, 06:21
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Also you can take copies of your Medical Records to the same office an ask them to Scan them in to your file.[/QUOTE]

I did - they said "no thanks, we don't want them, need them, or look at them. It would be a waste of our time"...
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  #9  
Old 17 October 2016, 12:39
WGH0922 WGH0922 is offline
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Originally Posted by ussfpa View Post
Also you can take copies of your Medical Records to the same office an ask them to Scan them in to your file.
I did - they said "no thanks, we don't want them, need them, or look at them. It would be a waste of our time"...[/QUOTE]

Don't ASK them to put them in your file, TELL them to put them in your file, get names, dates, phone #'s etc... I learned a few years back to do all VA business thru the DAV, they have been a good advocate for me. For almost 7 yrs the VA owed me 13 months back pay for disability, only thru the DAV and my local Congressman, Duncan Hunter Jr., was I able to recoup that. Almost $19K.
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Old 17 October 2016, 13:03
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Thanks- I'll look into a different advocate. Unfortunately, the Special Operations Care Coalition guys (followed me since my brain surgery) weren't able to help. I figured those guys were the top tier, but it never hurts to have more noggins.
We did have names, numbers etc....the HEAD of the Tampa VA (who I spoke with for more than an hour) backed his employees and the "no need for your previous records" line.

And you KNOW you can't make a GS4 supervisor, with an accent so heavy you can barely understand her, do anything other than take a break
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  #11  
Old 17 October 2016, 13:30
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Thanks- I'll look into a different advocate...
Have you tried the Patients' Advocate at the hospital? Many times I've been "told" things that got fixed after I stopped in to see the PA.

Have a friend who walked in to see his PA at a GA VAMC to complain about his third appointment in a row getting cancelled without being notified. The excuse was, "You cancelled it, so we don't have to notify you." Within a few minutes he had a new appt for that afternoon, and the PA said, "come back here immediately if you have any problems, and you may use my phone to call your Senator."

Worth a try...
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Old 17 October 2016, 16:04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ussfpa View Post
Also you can take copies of your Medical Records to the same office an ask them to Scan them in to your file.
Quote:
I did - they said "no thanks, we don't want them, need them, or look at them. It would be a waste of our time"...
When I retired and took my DD214 to the VA office on Camp Lejeune, they collected my medical record and told me it was being sent to be part of my VA record. I made three copies before I gave it up...
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Old 17 October 2016, 16:27
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Originally Posted by wildman43 View Post
TAMPA V.A. is an has been investigated BY THE V.A. IG office
George Haley VA Hospital (Tampa) is where I had my back operated on, was told AFTER I woke up that students from across the street did the operation. Seems that's common for several VA facilities.
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Old 17 October 2016, 16:49
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When I retired and took my DD214 to the VA office on Camp Lejeune, they collected my medical record and told me it was being sent to be part of my VA record. I made three copies before I gave it up...
Wish I'd have done that, my medical records completely disappeared.
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Old 17 October 2016, 20:19
82Redleg 82Redleg is offline
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To the initial post- absolutely. Veteran's health care would be better served by the fed .gov paying private organizations to provide them care that it owes veteran's instead of maintaining a bureaucracy that has proven it doesn't work. That isn't surprising- not much the fed .gov does is very efficient. Its just that, in some cases (defense and diplomacy, among the several laid out in the Constitution), there is no other remotely effective way to perform the required function.
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Old 17 October 2016, 21:02
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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Dept of Veterans Affairs publishes Quick Facts

http://www.va.gov/vetdata/Quick_Facts.asp

There are less than 4M disabled Vets w/ ratings from 0% all the way up to 100%. The numbers vary slightly, but there are only about 300K disabled Vets. The number of Vets is in "free fall" following the death of "The Greatest Generation". However, there are about 10M Vets enrolled in the VA system. This happened when VA saw the writing on the wall, and created the Category 8, which allowed Vets, regardless of income, to enroll in the VA. Over 60% of those enrolled in the VA were neither wounded in combat or injured while in service.

It is also important to know that the VA is the only federal Dept whose budget has gone up every year - VA has for decades been the second (only to DoD) largest Dept in the federal govt. Think about it, 4M patients and the second largest budget in the federal govt.

One would think that the 4M disabled Vets could be given a health insurance card that covers 100% care and Rx - and save billions of dollars....
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  #17  
Old 18 October 2016, 06:35
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So what about the Choice program?
Expanded coverage via local docs.
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Old 18 October 2016, 08:29
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So what about the Choice program?
Expanded coverage via local docs.
Complete nonsense. The local VA decides if your appointment meets the requirements for it. Of course they don't.
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Old 19 October 2016, 07:27
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Well, this is a real encouraging thread, since I just got on the VA health care, and is my "insurance", health care plan now. Saves me several hundred dollars a month, or having to have a deductible though.

So far, a few appointments have had at the local outpatient clinic have been OK. Of course anything else have to go to Danville, IL an hour away. Hear that is not a bad facility though.

Would be nice though, as mentioned above, if your VA card was just accepted at any local hospital.
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  #20  
Old 21 October 2016, 13:04
Lagnaippe Lagnaippe is offline
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I worked for VA for three years until just recently when I switched to another federal agency.There are some things VA does that civilian hospitals and outpatient clinics are not good at. Primary among them is PTSD and related mental health care. VA also provides health care at home and has medical foster homes for Veterans who can no longer live at home.

I recommend that all of you who are eligible and can take advantage of VA Health Care (or benefits in any way) take the time to learn about them and use them. My husband uses both VA and private insurance. For chronic conditions related to his military service, he uses VA. For urgent care needs, he uses our insurance. Plus he gets his meds through VA.

The Choice Program is for Veterans who cannot be seen within 30 days or must travel more than a certain distance. Once the decision is made to go with Choice, a third party administrator, Triwest in my area, works with the Veteran to find a community provider. For everyone who can, I would encourage them to sign up for Myhealthevet to take advantage of secure messaging with your provider and also order scripts online and have them mailed to you.

If you need help navigating the VA system, my recommendation is American Legion, VFW or DAV. Their advocates typically have good relationships with local VA Medical Centers and their senior staff.

As an aside, if anyone has questions or issues and wants general advice on all things VA, I'm happy to give it.
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Last edited by Lagnaippe; 21 October 2016 at 13:14. Reason: added more info
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