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VA hospital and service

Discussion in 'Veteran's Forum' started by noway, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. How many of you are receiving treatment thru a VA-hospital?

    Now in my older days are getting chronic lower back pains that I do contribute to my younger days of active duty service. My dad suggested that I get into looking at my region VA hospitals for treatment. I was kinda wonder what to expect?

    I don't what to be a guniea pig but rather go thru a system and get "TREATETMENT' or therapy.
  2. Bill73


    May 20, 2004
    Central Texas
    If you haven't been treated at a VA facility before, or have not applied for thier services then you need to apply. My friend had a loss of hearing he claimed to years on the flight line while in the AF. It took a long time, much paper work, income tax filings, proof of no other valid insurance, etc. After months of jumping through the hoops he got qualified for treatment.

  3. graybeard38


    Aug 17, 2003
    Houston, Texas
    Right now it's a bit hard to get in, unless you have a service connected disablity. Check with your local VFW and they can give you the right guidance. All VA hospitals are different in the type of service you receive. Most are excellent, but some leave alot to be desired.
  4. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    If I were to somehow don't have my own medical insurance, then I'd throw myself at the mercy of the VA hospital. Otherwise, I'll stick to my own.
  5. magsnubby

    magsnubby NRA LIFE MEMBER

    Apr 24, 2004
    fresno, ca
    My wife has standing instructions:Let me lay in the street and die before putting me in the VA hospital.

    Several years ago my brother-in-law had a malignate brain tumor. The army discharged him on a medical. We brought him home and his cheap ass wife put him in the local VA hospital. Now this was a man who had spent almost all of his adult life in the army. He was awarded a purple heart and two bronze stars. He was going down hill fast. They had put a diaper on him because he was comptley bedridden. Other patients had told us how bad the place was . Other vets had told me how bad the VA hospital was . I knew from personal experiance how bad it sucked. We walked into his room one day and he had torn his diaper off. His sheets were soiled. His gown was soiled. His room mate said he had been pressing the call button for 30 minutes trying to get someone. Two nurses were standing at the desk BSing when we came in.I completly lost it. A doctor finally showed up. I asked him WTF!!! The nurse had never processed the paper work to move him to the VA rest home.

    He was moved to a VA nursing home the next day. The nurses and staff were fantastic. He was finally allowed some dignity. He got to pass on in peace.
  6. Jim in MI

    Jim in MI

    Feb 16, 2004
    West Michigan
    I did a great deal of my residency at a VA. Every large VA hospital in the country is affiliated with a large teaching hospital...but you guys don't know it. If you are at the large VA in Conn., you are being treated by residents at Yale. If you are at the VA in Baltimore, you are being treated by residents at the University of Maryland (ect, ect)...the residents at these programs are not only slave labor for their hospitals...they are slave labor for the VA's also.

    It seems like it is a lot of paperwork to get in the system, but once you're in front of a doctor, well, you're in front of a doctor. It doesn't matter if you have a 0% dissability rating to the doctor.

    The quality of care will vary by hospital or clinic. There are a lot of people(patients) and a very few specialists. There could be a 6 to 8 month wait for a knee replacement or a bypass surgery, because the OR is booked. If you just need to see a doctor to get your cholesterol or hypertension meds adjusted, it probably won't be too bad.

    You can't beat the deals you get by using a VA pharmacy. A lot of people will go to their "regular" primary care doctor that they have used for years, and use the VA's mail order pharmacy to get their meds, and only pay the co pays.

    Now as to the originator of the thread. Just what kind of care do you think the VA's general orthopaedist will give you compared to a spine specialist at a university hospital? I wouldn't even bother, but that is just me. It takes a LONG time to work up chronic back pain, and you probably won't be very happy with the doctor visit. He will tell you to loose wait (if you have a gut at all), do strengthening exercises, and give you some pain pills or muscle relaxers. If you have arthritis of the spine you will probably never be "cured" 100%. Now, I was very happy with my ability to get an MRI or CT scan for patients while at the maybe if you were to get signed up at the VA you could use their pharmacy benefit and possibly their radiology services....but I would go to a spine specialist/regular civilain physical therapy if I had back pain.

    Then again, you will never know unless you try the VA out. Good luck.
  7. BNSF

    BNSF 228th suxs big

    May 30, 2004
    At the foot of NORAD
    If you want to seek treatment, move closer to a military installation. As long as you have coverage, you are better off at the installation than the VA. Some VAs are good others are a lab for health care personnel to try their new learned skills.

    I am an Army Nurse Corp officer and 99% of the folks I care for are retirees or their dependants. Do your homework and ask to see a copy of their latest Joint Commission Inspection report. For more info on JCAHO go here

    They may not let you see it (in military installations), but you can probably get your hands on the one for a nursing home or assisted facility. Tour the facility at any given time and just show up. If you tell them you are coming, they will hide their mistakes. I have been around and seen some things that I just rather shoot myself if I am bound to a nursing home. People are abusive towards their patients.

    My goal is that when I retire from active duty is either teach at the university level or become a JCAHO inspector. I have no tolerance for stupidity and dumb s****.

    I hope your brother is in a better facility and being taken care as he deserves. After all, he is a veteran.
  8. Ravenn


    Oct 24, 2003
    I've had good luck with their primary care clinic here at Ft.Knox, where I work. I also get treatment / testing at the Louisville,Ky V.A. I've had no complaints. Meds are sent directly to my house in plenty of time, and followup appointments are booked before you leave. Get to see the same provider each time too. Try and get into a primary care satilite clinic first.

    Ravenn in Ky
  9. actionpup

    actionpup Psycho Pup!

    Dec 2, 2001
    I work for the VA. I don't work for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) however. I work for a smaller department. I will tell you that there is a joke within the VA: "If you have been to one VA Medical Center (VAMC), you have been to one VAMC." That is because each VAMC is incredibly different from another. Overall, I am pleased with the service I personally have received for medical care. 10 years ago I wouldn't have said that. It was a nightmare. They have made a great deal of changes however and are now more competitive with the private sector. The biggest problem I see is the wait. The system is taxed and it takes a while to get the care needed.

    As for applying, simply call or visit the nearest VHA facility near you. They will send/give you an application. Be sure to provide a copy of your DD214. I will warn you that the application is rather intrusive and lengthy. Income will be a factor in whether or not you are eligible for VA medical care. Reporting your income is optional however. If you opt not to include your income information you will simply have to make co-payments for appointments, procedures and prescriptions. Don't let that keep you from completing it and applying for care through the VA system.

    As for your back pain...visit your County Veteran Service Officer and file a VA claim for disability. You will have to provide supporting documentation to support your claim. If it was caused by military service then you should push it until you receive a disability rating for the injury. Having a disability rating or service connected disability places you at a higher priority in the system than without it.

    The VA just announced this week that they will include chiropractic care in the services offered by the VA. That may be something that is helpful to you.

    Thank you for serving. I hope you can get the care you need.
    Take care,

    Here is a link that might get you started: VA Health Benefits and Services

    Edited to add VA link
  10. actionpup thanks for the information thats want I 've been looking for. One word o gather documentation. Whats needed?

    I never received treatment for anything while on 8 yrs of active duty and I'm 100% sure th pain I'm suffering now is directly due to my previous military service.

    I don't wnat to milk the system but just need physical therapy and care for the condition that I have since it is getting worse as the years tick by.
  11. actionpup

    actionpup Psycho Pup!

    Dec 2, 2001
    Glad to help. As for the documentation, you need a statement from a MD that ties your injury to your time in the military. It is simple. Just because you didn't seek medical attention while in the service doesn't eliminate you from having a valid claim for disability from the VA. The MD and their statement is the key.

    Don't think of your receiving treatment within the VA system as milking the system. If you received the injury while in service of the country then you are not milking anything.

    Thank you for your service. I wish the best for you in receiving the quality care for your injury.
  12. jerryd


    May 14, 2003
    Stratford, Ct.
    Had to go to the VA hospital last year in ct, remembered all the horror stories from years gone bye, could not believe how efficient they were! Had to get blood work, chest xray, and phys from dr. for AO exposure and apply for comp. Was in and out in 2hrs with all the forms and my questions answered, hope it stays that way and not like the movie Article 99.
  13. From the way I was treated in a VH in 1967 (Nam vet)---I wouldn't allow the VA to work on my dog let alone any human being.

    I was given the run around, appointments were broken, and was sent and given the wrong tests. There was a lack of treatment, lack of trained staff, and an employee there referred to all Nam Vet as baby killers.

  14. actionpup

    actionpup Psycho Pup!

    Dec 2, 2001

    I hear you. Heck after Desert Storm it wasn't any better. Same type of treatment. I can remember one appointment (just one of several) that was scheduled at 8am and they told me to report there at 730am. I showed up at 730am and was still sitting in the waiting room at 5pm. After jumping over the desk demanding someone see me before a single doctor left for the day, they briefly ran me into a room, took my vitals and sent me out the door without even dealing with the reason I was there. As it turned out the docs had left out a back door a couple of hours earlier but no one bothered to tell me or any of the other vets that were still waiting with me.

    After congress threatened to shut down the VA and outsource veterans care in the mid-90s the VA turned around quickly. It is a competitive system of care now. While it could use a huge increase in budget to further improve care, it is a different place than you visited after returning from Vietnam. If needed, you might want to give them another try.

    Thanks for serving,
  15. JOE MACK


    Jul 27, 2002
    I also work at a VA Medical Center. I've heard some of the horror stories that make it around. I am also a Vietnam Vet with three combat tours. I treat the people that come in the same way I'd like to be treated. There are many,sick, needy people that come to the Center. There are also the swindlers, scammers, frauds, abusers of the system. These people are the ones that tend to make the employees calus. 98% of the people that are seen in the emergency room aught to be driven out with a stick. We routinely see constipation that's not due to age or meds (these people should get off the damn couch, eat right, exercise, and drink fluids). Most things could be handled by the walk-in clinic the next day. I call them "Kerry" emergencies. If things were REAL emergencies, one would go to the hospital on the corner opposite your house. We also have budget and staffing shortages all the time. At one point, I was doing the job myself in what should have been a five man shop. I got hypertension out of that little episode after 8 years of it. It's like pup says, there are excellent hospitals out there and even some excellent departments in otherwise poor ones. I see alot of the same things in HMOs and even private hospitals. We are getting closer and closer to the old socialized medicine ever year. Sorry for the long diatribe. ^9
  16. Action pup:

    I will not subject myself to the VA and their abuse of the system again...

    I have full coverage Blue Cross and BLue Shield plus Major Medical and will have all medical needs seen to in a "real" hospital. I feel sorry for any vet that has to subject himself/herself to the VA.

  17. TCMAC


    Aug 21, 2004