As a US Army vet I use the VA for some of my healthcare. The care itself, the medical types, are generally good. However, the administrative experience can be inefficient, frustrating, and even dishonest.
That’s why one member of Congress wants to give his legislative colleagues, who get exclusive and elite heathcare coverage, a taste of what those who have served their country in uniform have to go through every day.
Fox, “House and Senate lawmakers and staff are required to get their health coverage through the Washington, D.C., health insurance exchange created under Obamacare. They get access to gold-level plans, which means they pay 20% of their health care costs while taxpayers cover 80%. But, under legislation proposed by Rep. Warren Davidson, an Army veteran and Republican from Ohio, lawmakers and staff would receive VA care at VA facilities ‘as if such members and staff were veterans.’ Davidson says the point is to make lawmakers more aware of the problems with the VA.”
“Providing our veterans with the highest quality care is a bipartisan issue on which nearly all members of Congress agree,” Davidson said in a statement. “The VA is charged with fulfilling our nation’s obligation to provide veterans with the health benefits they have earned. To fulfill that obligation, the VA will require consistent and intentional congressional oversight. When I talk with veterans, they always stress the urgency surrounding veterans’ health care issues, particularly for mental health services. My bill will ensure members of Congress have a stake in improving the VA health care system.”
A typical interaction with VA healthcare, as I can tell you from personal experience, can be harrowing in the admin sense. You have a health issue. You call them. You are lucky to get through. One VA clinic in Maryland stopped answering their phones for months.
If you finally get through you may get an appointment, many times months hence. Though, the VA may cancel that appointment at any time without telling you. Or VA healthcare may call you to suggest an appointment for a checkup. You say fine, when? They say they’ll call you back with a date. They never call back.
Once you somehow get to see a doctor the process is much better. The medicos tend to be professional and knowledgeable. You leave with appointments for various labs, etc., that can pinpoint your issue. One problem, the labs can be months in the future. If it’s a serious issue the wait can be lethal.
Various VA medical facilities across the nation have been caught falsifying records to claim shorter wait times. Philadelphia and Phoenix were two. This happened several years ago but apparently, according to recent news, the VA is up to its old tricks when it comes to record keeping and wait times.
Perhaps it will take a member of Congress with a serious health issue and a slow or nonexistent VA health response to fix the situation. While it goes on as usual veterans needlessly die every single day.
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