Skip to comments.The Obvious Lessons of the VA Scandal
Posted on 05/19/2014 5:41:13 AM PDT by rootin tootin
My father was a veteran of World War II, and thus eligible to receive medical treatment at the VA hospital that operated a few miles from our house. He used it exactly once. His experience with what the Veterans Administration calls health care was so awful that he claimed to be more in fear of his life within the walls of that VA facility than he had ever been while on active duty in Europe. I confess that, at the time he made this assertion, I assumed he was indulging a penchant for hyperbole. I have long since learned otherwise.
The recent revelations about veterans left for dead on secret waiting lists merely constitute the latest in a long series of scandals involving the atrocious care patients receive at VA hospitals. To provide just a few examples, veterans have gone missing from their rooms and been later found dead of exposure on hospital grounds, they have been exposed en masse to the HIV virus due to the use of unsterilized instruments, and some have even contracted Legionnaires Disease after being rash enough to drink the water at a VA facility.
As to the latest scandal, the people who run the Veterans Medical Healthcare System have known about the waiting list problem for more than a year ...
(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...
Long past time they replace the VA Hospital system with vouchers / insurance for private hospitals and clinics.
My Dad a WW2 Vet used VA back in the 70’s, x rays every 3 months, they missed the Lung Cancer until it was to late. Sent him home with 6 weeks to live, advised hospice. Dad made 3 months, it was actually their pain meds that stopped his heart that killed him, before the cancer did. He was on VA disability.
Replace the VA?
With vouchers and insurance for private hospitals?
The only system worse than the VA is the Canadian and British Health care system.
And the only system worse than those is Obama’s system about to take over our private health care system.
There won’t be providers, no doctors. There will not be private health insurance.
Do throw all veterans into that would not only be the worst thing anyone could do for them, it would be Hillary’s dream once she takes over this mess.
And Obamacare is going to be better than that, how?
I spoke at length with a VietNam vet this weekend that uses the VA system extensively. With two hospitals here in OK, he has been to both and was highly complimentary of both for the way he was treated for his ailments and as a person. While I’m certainly a vet, complete with an honorable discharge DD214, my service time was Cold War only and I claimed no service-connected issues at the time of my discharge. I have no current plans that would have the VA as part of my future health care.
It was only kind of known around here that the VA hospital was the place veterans went when they didn’t have any other way to pay for medical care.
When my ex-husband was on the psych floor there, it was really hard to tell who was more crazy, the patients or the doctors!!
Priority Group 2 Veterans with VA Service-connected disabilities rated 30% or 40%.
Priority Group 3 Veterans who are former POWs. Veterans awarded the Purple Heart Medal. Veterans awarded the Medal of Honor. Veterans whose discharge was for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty. Veterans with VA Service-connected disabilities rated 10% or 20%. Veterans awarded special eligibility classification under Title 38, U.S.C., § 1151, benefits for individuals disabled by treatment or vocational rehabilitation.
Priority Group 4 Veterans receiving increased compensation or pension based on their need for regular Aid and Attendance or by reason of being permanently Housebound. Veterans determined by VA to be catastrophically disabled.
Priority Group 5 Nonservice-connected Veterans and noncompensable Service-connected Veterans rated 0%, whose annual income and/or net worth are not greater than the VA financial thresholds. Veterans receiving VA Pension benefits. Veterans eligible for Medicaid benefits.
Priority Group 6 Compensable 0% Service-connected Veterans. Veterans exposed to ionizing radiation during atmospheric testing or during the occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Project 112/SHAD participants. Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975. Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990, through November 11, 1998. Veterans who served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998, as follows: Veterans discharged from active duty on or after January 28, 2003, for five years post discharge.
Priority Group 7 Veterans with incomes below the geographic means test (GMT) income thresholds and who agree to pay the applicable copayment.
Priority Group 8 Veterans with gross household incomes above the VA national income threshold and the geographically-adjusted income threshold for their resident location and who agrees to pay copays
I’ve been treated at four different VA Hospitals. ALL gave me excellent medical treatment and exemplary personal service.
Triple bypass, appendectomy, cataract surgery & carpal tunnel surgery at Asheville, NC
Three stents at Baltimore, MD
Cataract surgery & extensive dental at Salisbury, NC
Emergency dental at Waco, Texas
I was denied retinal surgery because “your vision is not yet bad enough to meet the ‘Medicare Guidelines’. If we performed the surgery they would fire us all.” So I cashed in part of my 401K and had the surgery done at a civilian clinic.
The medical staff at all four of these hospitals, plus my local VA clinic, have been kind, attentive and professional at all times.
As far as my personal experience, I say, “Thank you, VA and thanks to you, the American taxpayer”.
I live in Atlanta and use the VAMC on Clairmont Road. In ‘07 I had an angioplasty for a badly constricted coronary vessel. It was performed by the chief of the Cath Lab at Emory. And just last month, I had a cataract surgery. I visited the ER there once. BOTH procedures — and the ER visit — went well, perhaps because this facility draws on Emory, a very well regarded medical school. Unfortunately, a number of these VA facilities are sited away from top notch medical schools and the patient care reflects that.
A physician friend asked me what they call the guy who graduated at the bottom of his class in med school? He’s called “doctor”. And if he came from a lower ranked med school, the problem is exacerbated.
Wait times for non-critical care can be a bit lengthy but that may be due largely to the large number of vets in the Atlanta area. Granted, there is probably a staffing, funding and bureaucracy component to that. And it would be a good thing if the feds diverted all that “foreign aid” we shuttle out to buy friends among folks who will never stop hating us, and used it to beef up the system for the guys who have put their asses on the line saving these same “friends” from their own stupidity.
I’m a “Category 8” (Vietnam era but no service connected conditions) and have not experienced any problems or delays.
We had a VA hosp near where I grew up & its reputation was “that’s where those with no resources go & those who worked there were the ones who had been fired from every other health facility”. Wasn’t a place one chose to go, it was a last/only option.
The key to your point is "here in Oklahoma." My very best friend was treated very well by VA in Muskogee, he served a total of 8 weeks active duty in 1957. Some states are better than others in the way they treat Vets.
I suspected that was probably a factor but knew I might get other input here. I did some contract training for the VA hospital in OKC for staff development. It was a good group but they appeared frustrated by the daunting bureaucracy.