Veterans Choice

Sunday, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, MD, said he wanted to eliminate the mileage and wait time restriction for the Veterans Choice Program.

Presently, the Veterans Choice Program only allows veterans to use a community health care provider under two criteria for non-emergency care: 1) Veterans who live 40 miles or more from the nearest VA facility; or, 2) Veterans who need to wait 30 days for an appointment.

Shulkin spoke at a Disabled American Veterans (DAV) conference yesterday and set out his top priorities for VA now that he is head of the agency.

Veterans Choice 2.0

One high priority on his list was an overhaul of the Veterans Choice Program Shulkin referred to as “Choice 2.0.” As part of his new plan, Shulkin plans to remove those two restrictions that limited access to community care options because the restrictions are “extremely complex and bureaucratic.”

He said the new proposal first requires that Congress eliminate the expiration date established for the present Veterans Choice Program, which is set for August 7, 2017.

Some Other Shulkin Priorities

Other priorities mentioned at the conference were addressing employee accountability with new lawmaking. Shulkin wants to push legislation to “make sure bad employees are leaving the system.”

As an aside, this is interesting since Congress is supposed to push legislation and the Executive Branch, including VA, are supposed to carry out those laws, not push them through Congress. It is more a sign of Congress’s abducation of its duty to reasonably pass legislation needed to efficiently run the federal government.

Shulkin also plans to address the “national tragedy” of the high veteran suicide rate. It is about time veteran suicides get addressed, right?

Back To Veterans Choice

Nonetheless, I am surprised to see Shulkin endorse this move since he was reluctant to answer direct questions in a succinct manner during his confirmation hearing about Veterans Choice and how the program might be affected by his leadership.

While many veteran organizations will disagree, I think veterans should be allowed a choice when seeking health care, whether in VA or in the community.

VA would also do well to increase veterans opportunities for choices related to their care within VA.

Presently, many veterans have their health care dictated to them, and this kind of health care via tyranny needs to go the way of the dodo. Civilians can choice their health care provider and the manner in which they receive care at their respective provider.

Isn’t it time veterans have the same flexibility, even if they stay within VA?

I know, some of you reading this will respond that you get great health care at VA and that you have full decision making authority when receiving your care.

Well, you are lucky. Many veterans do not have that same flexibility.

Beginning this week, DAV and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) will be stumping to tell Congress what they want VA to work on. On Tuesday, DAV is scheduled to present their position to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

It may be worth tuning in to hear how each organization addresses Veterans Choice.

Source: https://www.stripes.com/news/veterans/shulkin-proposes-eliminating-40-mile-30-day-rule-for-non-va-care-1.456087#.WLOiFBIrLBU

198 COMMENTS

  1. You mean it will no longer be in “Gods hands” as my pcp told me on last visit? I made an appointment with the local vetinarian, I figure it couldn’t be any worse than the va. Ohhhhh that was a ruff comment.

    • As long as he is going to try and get law passed to tell the unions to piss off, your fired, I hope he also works on getting the sieu infestation out of the va as well. ACORN working at the va? Really? Communists working at a facility for veteran freedom fighters? While he is at it, I hope he fires all those quacks that deny service connection claims for bonus’s. I mean, if he wants to cut down on the HUGE appeals backlog, then fire the bastards and bastardess’s that caused it in the first place. How about a new law, if they can’t finish an appeal in 60 days, the benifit of the doubt goes to the veteran, end of backlog……….period.

      • I like the way you think, CJ.

        Benefit of the doubt goes to the Veteran. Way past time for the VA to implement that.

      • @Disgruntled Veteran: It is suppose to be current policy, benifit of the doubt goes to the veteran. Only problem is they don’t practice current policy when there is money to be had in bonus’s for denying a veteran service connection. Take away the damn bonus money and you will quickly see claims no longer beinng denied.

      • @CJ – Your last reply is why I said “way past time to implement. We all know that it has been VA policy for years, but when has the VA ever correctly followed their policies in favor of the Veteran? Way past time. Veterans First, VA Workers last. That should be the priority sequence.

        Agreed. 60 days should be more than enough time to adjudicate a veterans claim.

      • No apology necessary. I always enjoy your postings along with 91Veteran, Crazy elf, Namnibor, Dennis, Ex va, along with my displaced island bruddah ANutterVet, and a few others.

        And of course, our host – – – Ben. I shudder to think how my life would have continued had I not found Ben’s Blog.

        The education you folks have provided me over the last five months has been most helpful to me in my own dealings with my local VA healthcare providers here in Honolulu. Now if only the C & P unit over here could get their Cranial-Rectal Inversion sorted out . . .

      • @ cj, they put time limits on social security, why can’t they do that to the va? I think the va should have less time to review c & p exams that social security.

      • THE AFGE UNION SEWAGE RATS WILL FIGHT TO STOP FROM VETS GETING TO CHOSING THER PRVIATE HEALTH CARE THE P BIG FAT PORKER PIMP DACVID COX AFGE UNION PRESIDENT WILL FIGHT THE VETS ON THIS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • This is LONG overdue. I have had health issues like most vets. I went to the Charleston, S.C. V.A to take out my gall bladder. First they said I could get it done in FOUR months. I had to call my congressman, and MIRACULOUSLY I got in in two weeks. Then I had the operation, and STILL have my gall bladder. The surgeon said my gall bladder was rapped around my liver. I had to give him the benefit of the doubt.. I DO NOT want to go back to the V.A. to FINALLY get it out. I am going to a local hospital.

      • If you have sand vs stones reduction should do the trick and you wouldn’t have a gall bladder if it wasn’t needed for something.

        I’ve had a reduction in 1998 and after about 4 months I had no more problems.

    • It’s an interesting ideal. Just a couple of question; how much money will be withdrawn from veterans health care to pay for those who want to go outside va.,secondly what guarantees that next year that budget for private doc, will be enough for the care of the vets. 19trillion deficent

      • We could start by using the money we sent to Iran 1.3 billion + 400 million
        Illegal alien cost to US taxpayers 100 billion annually
        cost to jai illegals for crimes they commited 1.87 billion annually
        DOD cant account for, also known as “lost” 6.5 trillion

        With just a few minutes of my “fuzzy” math.There is no shortage of wasteful spending.

        I can research for another hour, and find even more funding that would be better used for veterans, and still have money left over to help the surviving family members of the fallen.

        Now for some good pr.

        Tax break for fortune 500 companies, that donate directly to help veterans with healthcare, and housing for homeless veterans.

        Converting no longer needed, military bases. Such as the prime land mass known as Ft. Sheridan, bordering Lake Michigan, into a new village for disabled veterans and their families so they can live the dignified life they deserve. Also funded by fortune 500 companies for tax breaks.

        This isn’t rocket surgery, it’s common sence and achievable………….

  2. The VA and Choice Program need to improve on paying their bills to providers timely as to not lose that doctor or provider. It’s a huge problem in Georgia. When a provider has the auth why are they not payed. VETS are getting Bill collectors on their butts cause of this inefficient system for the Atlanta area.

    • The Choice program is a scam designed to look like something is being done about wait times, when in fact vets are waiting longer for a Choice appointment.

      The VA hired numerous “Choice champions” to administer this disaster, and not a one of them know what to do.

      You can bet your ass if their paycheck was late, someone would be hearing about it, but delaying payment for a vets care is no big deal.

      If the delay is long enough, perhaps the vet can get his bill sent to his insurance if he has any, or sent to a bill collector if they don’t. Then the VA will have more money to spend on their bureaucracy.

      I was referred to Choice Feb 6. I got a call from Choice about 8 days later gathering information.

      I just called the provider. They have the referral, but I have to wait for Choice to contact them. Choice has not bothered to do that yet.

      The provider said all of the information needed for submitting the bill is on the referral, so there is no reason for the VA to delay payment.

      Its the same hospital where I was referred last year. They are familiar with Choice and where to send the bill, which means the head of the Patient Advocates, Paul Sweeney, lied to me when he claimed they sent the bill to the wrong place.

      I despise liars.

  3. Thanks for the 411, Ben.

    Will certainly be highly interested in seeing what course Dinosaur VSO’s think VA should chart for the next few years. I like Shulkin’s thinking on proposing “Choice 2.0”. Were I only to have the freedom of what he is proposing on this tiny island . . .

    That would be a very positive life-changing experience for THIS veteran. I would then be allowed to see people I can trust. And not have to deal with wasting a morning/afternoon/day/week calling the Constantly Busy/Leave Voicemail – We will Call Back, But Never Do/Care About Me/NOT – – – VA.

    Sounds Too Good To Be True.

    • @Disgruntled Veteran– As long as the VA authorizes a dozen Choice Crows to carry you from your tiny island while you hold-onto coconut husks to arrive timely at a California appointment, you should be fine…providing the Choice Crows are not allergic to coconuts. Better wear a life preserver and some shark repellant just to be safe (shark repellant and life preserver on veteran’s own dime…it’s your Choice to be safe…) 🙂

      • @Nam – All I really need from them is a card the guarantees prompt payment to my provider. I will take care of my own scheduling, transportation on-island, etc. Got a doc I just LOVE who is also a computer wonk to the Nth degree.

        Once a patient of hers – – – just log on, fill out a one page form, submit. Within a few hours – – – you receive e-mail ticket with details of your appointment time and other useful info like whether the blood test will be fast/non-fast etc.

        This lady probably stacks her sierra into neat little bricks . . .

        THAT is someone I want full-time on my healthcare team. She loves veterans, hates the VA for what they do not do (properly take care of veterans) and believes that technology should help rather than hinder.

        She also DEMANDS that patients become “co-conspirators” in taking charge of their own healthcare to achieve the best possible outcome for the patient. Saw her twice for something rather serious – – – she went WAY ABOVE the strict call of duty, in order to assist me. She knew I could not afford her, but took me in anyway. Then allowed me to pay what I was truly able to afford.

        Just give me a card that guarantees good doctors like this prompt payment. That is the only healthcare I need from the VA. I can take care of the rest on my own.

      • @Nam – – – Too late for me on the shark repellant! Already been to the Spark Matsunaga VA Clinic in Honolulu more than once. Shark repellant only works on Great Whites, and other pure breds. Might work on pure bred piggies as well. Not sure.

        But here in the islands, we have a special AFGE-enhanced strain known as the SharkohawgarhinypotaVSOamus. Christ, Kryptonite wouldn’t kill that critter.

        Thanks for the chuckle.

  4. This sounds good that Dr. Shulkin is addressing real problems with real solutions. Veterans should not be denied care at the va medical centers and if they are being neglected they should have the choice of seeing a doctor outside of the va system. These things should be implemented immediately and there should be no discussion about it. Save lives, let Veterans choose where they want their needs for healthcare met. Treat the disabled Veteran in a manner that a civilian is treated in the healthcare system not lesser.

    Sorry, the Veterans i know in the va medical care system close to where i live do not speak their praises of receiving excellent care thru the va system, it is the opposite. The majority feel they have been treated with negligence, sub-human and with contempt. The majority of the bloggers here feel the same.

    It is tyranny as you stated because these people in authority have no respect for the loss of life and that an administrators and/or other officials in the va systems job is more important than a Veterans life. That is why they do not prosecute negligent doctors/providers/officials they protect them because they are all colleagues protecting themselves because they would be found negligent because they know the abuses of these doctors/providers and refuse to do anything about it.

    • @Ex va: That is for sure. One thing the va will never square away with me, is the phrase “THE LIQUIFIED REMAINS OF A VETERAN WERE FOUND AT THE VA” That kind of says it all. Where else in the entire world, have you ever heard that term? I don’t think even the most prehistoric tribes of the Amazon jungle, have ever found the “LIQUIFIED REMAINS” of even a damn shunkadillopuss.

      • @cj, there has been so many unspeakable, unimaginable and diabolical abuses by the va over too many years. You are right the terms used are beyond understanding and with it in writing it is beyond what a civilized country should allow to happen to their disabled Veterans. Beyond madness…Borders on evil doings, don’t know how to comprehend it and will never comprehend it. I will not forget it either.

    • I agree the V.A. is completely a JOKE. Long wait times. Can’t speak to your primary doctor. Have to get them an email. Might not hear from them for a week, or many weeks. I decided to go to my local hospital from now on. I make them bill the V.A. I go to the EMERGENCY department, if I have a problem. THEN the V.A. has to pay for it. I am 100% disabled from the V.A. I have a TWO hour drive to the V.A. hospital. Because their is a CLINIC twenty miles away, they didn’t want to pay my bills. Another bull shit V.A.
      “technicality”. Clinic’s are just that a CLINIC. It is NOT a hospital. Da…….. I finally woke up, and now go to the emegency department at the hospital close to me. No long drive, and I get excellent care. I encourage all vets to do the same. Semper Fi

      • That little gambit will work just well if you remember to claims that( for example an Emergency Room) visit the is connected to treatment that you are getting at the VA Hospital.I tried just that little tactic some years back and the VA paid up a chuck of change after dickering with the padded Hospital Emergency Room Bill.
        It was all laid out in in some VA regs post that I looked up. May have changed some since then. Hey, it’s only money …..

  5. So, instead of the VA and VA Sec. using Public Affairs $$$ to make a televised address to America’s Veterans, VA Secretary Shulkin decides to play his violin for the dinosaur VSO swamp beasts of the DAV/VFW variety and let me get this correct: “[Beginning this week, DAV and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) will be stumping to tell Congress what they want VA to work on.]”….WTF…The DAV and VFW will be TELLING CONGRESS what THEY want to work on? WTF?
    How about this? How about the VA simply following the damn LAW that’s been put in=-place for the VA to FOLLOW for ONCE?
    Why couldn’t the VA utilize Public Affairs $$$ to have our VA Sec. make public announcements instead of being filtered through the VSO Dino’s?
    I hate to again be the cynic here but this just shows what allegiance VA Sec. Shulkin has to the Dinosaur VSO Piggies and if I read the tense correctly, it seems Shulkin sees the Choice Cookie Jar’s bottom surface approaching by August, 2017 so it’s time to make sure to beg and have your piggy Dino VSO’s beg for you as well…oh, and we want those pesky bureaucratic rules changed, too!

    What I predict will take place is Shulkin will get Choice to cast a wider net and we will be right back to congress critters in a year or less when the VA and Choice Champions start giving Veterans Choice appointments in the polar opposite extremes of: A Veteran in Georgia will have to travel on their own dime to a Choice Authorization appointment in Montana and the Veteran in Montana will need to travel to Puerto Rico, and a Puerto Rico Veteran will need to travel to Michigan, again, on their own dime because the crows refuse to fly that far….wait for it…the VA has proven to be a petulant child and I fully expect the teething pains to start….about…now…(after the VSO Piggies get their $$$$)….wait for it…….Oh, and the VA and Choice will still not pay bills on time or at all entirely…again, wait for it…

    • I agree with you entirely namnibor. They need to do their dam job. There’s so much red tape dealing with AFGE that everyone who is supposed to be administering health care to veterans are actually blinded by appeasing the union workers hired to provide veterans care.

  6. Beginning this week, DAV and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) will be stumping to tell Congress what they want VA to work on…..why don’t they send the vet’s a survey instead . who died and left these worthless fucks in charge of what we want.as if we all belong to these worthless organizations

    • @OLDMARINE– Right-on…who left the Dino VSO’s in-charge and somehow representing me and my interests, let alone ALL Veterans? Way too cozy of a piggy relationship with those lamprey, that DO NOT represent the vast majority of Veterans…no, the VSO’s have proven they represent THEIR own interests, period. Makes me recall the VSO’s movement of “SAVE THE VA” (from true Choice and Privatization), when vast majority of the Dino VSO’s or at least their management, do NOT even use the VA, as they have their own healthcare plans, just like Congress Critters, right?
      What I unfortunately see Shulkin doing is relying and deferring to the Dino VSO’s instead of using his own brain and this early on and his cozy relationship with this, as if ALL Veterans are represented by them, is an early large red flag…definitely a red flag…but lots of interesting ugly hats…spared no expense…oh…and we want to do *something* about Veteran Suicide…what, we are not quite sure, but it SURE SOUNDS GREAT, doesn’t it…? Now, refill our Choice Cookie Jar!!!! 🙂

    • @Old Marine,
      The VFW sent out word for a poll on what veterans thought about VHA’s.
      You could call them and let them know.
      Like all VSO’s, nothing came of it!

      • I think those VSO’s only send out periodic polls to further stretch the justification of their existence.
        All the VA needs to do is…FOLLOW THE LAWS set-forth for them to FOLLOW…

    • As for the VSO”S their best days are behind them for whatever good works they have done for vet. I don’t have any use for them myself, they are now part of the problem.

    • @OLDMARINE – Precisely. Time to call in the massive air-strike on the Dinosaur VSO’s. Used to belong. Not anymore. None of them ever did anything for me except to lighten my already too light wallet. Pay their dues, or pay my rent? Easy choice.

      Semper Fi.

      • The VA employees are exempt from being fired as of today. The house passed the Holman Rule and I was told by senator’s Bennett’s office that it was not in effect until it passed the Senate.

        And becomes law. Don’t know about that. If that is true.

        I know one thing the Holman Rule. Is the key to getting rid of bad employees and everyone must do their part and call and text and write to their senator’s and tell them to pass it ASAP. !

        In pueblo co I attended a protest and held signs asking the senator’s to pass this Bill. Also a sign 22 veteran’s dying every day do u care.

        One veteran’s are dying VA is lying. The group is trying to get senator Gardner to hold a town meeting.

        He refuses to hold one in person afraid of his citizens. I guess. He has sent out an e-mail stating he will hold a ☎ town forum.

        You have to sign up and they will call us at 10am tomarrow. I will be bringing up the Holman Rule and the disruptive committee and the VBA denying veterans claims or destroying their record’s.

        To all of you please contact your senator and hopefully they will pass the Bill. Thanks

  7. Very interesting,I hope it is not smoke and mirrors as usual.
    I am a Retired Vietnam Veteran a Marine and Rated 100% Living in the Philippines and the Manila VA Clinic is 800 air miles round trip for me and in 2015 I Got a Choice Card and when I contacted the Clinic in Manila about it it I was Told by the Clinic manager,”The Choice card is no good here”What a Crock!!
    That is like taking a kid into a Candy Store and telling them,You can’t have any Candy!!
    My question is why did the bone head at VA in the US even bother to send it to me.

    If the New Choice card will be good here it will be life changing news for all us Retired Veterans here!

    Maybe someone at Disabled Veterans Org. Could ask the new secretary of the VA if we here in the Philippines will be included this time,I fought in the same Damn War as everyone else did.
    Semper Fi

    • Get a signature sheet together of the Vets in your area. Send it to the whoever you were talking about to Make them authorize the hospitals and clinics in your area! Maintain copies of all correspondence for use later.

      • If the clinic is an authorized Medicare provider it is authorized by the law. All you have to do is call and verify.

        If it isn’t authorized you’ll have to pick up the difference in what the VA pays and what they charge same as Medicare part B.

    • I would be asking for proof about the Choice card not being any good there.

      Sounds like someone just pulled another flippant answer out of their ass.

    • @Bob In Da Pill-Oh-Peenz

      Sounds like you may have had dealings with the Infamous Rima Nelson whom after she probably exposed over 1500 vets to HIV and Hep C in St. Louis, was given a transfer to the Manila Clinic so that she would be “under the radar” for awhile. Now, she is in charge of the Phoenix VA. Poor bastards up there in addition to their other medical problems – – – are about to be “RIMA’d”.

      She should have been fired, then sent to jail.

    • You are like me. Fomer Marine-100% diabled. I finally woke up, and started going straight to my local hospital EMERGENCY department. The V.A. has to pay anyone who is 100% that goes to the EMERGENCY department. I am DONE with going to the V.A. other than blood work, and talking to my primary doctor, who is basically useless. I have a two hour ride to my V.A. hospital. I have quit doing it. I go straight to the emergency department when something ailes me. You need to do the same. Make sure you have them bill the V.A., and NOT medicare. My first visit cost me $25,000, I was in the hospital four days with pancrtitis, and they wanted to bill me for $2000.00. I went in and said get rid of the medicare paperwork on me, and BILL the V.A. The V.A. paid all $25,000. Good luck. Semper Fi

  8. It *sounds* as if Shulkin is trying. The two VSO’s mentioned in the article are pushing the opposite.

    “cj”, “Disgruntled Veteran” and “Ex va” have basically summed up everything VHA’s & VBA’s need to accomplish!

    I would add, VHA healthcare providers, PCP’s, nurses, PA’s etc., who only “perform at the minimum” for veterans healthcare, need to be gone!
    How many out there, at your appointment, have nothing done except a “routine exam”? Ex; blood pressure, PCP listening with a stethoscope, then wants to give “prescriptions” still in the “testing stage” through the pharmaceutical company?!?

    Could it be, these individuals may NOT be “full fledged healthcare providers!” Could it be they “purchased” their licenses from a “Fake University” OUTSIDE the United States?
    Think about it. How many of you have noticed the physician doing the same thing as what the nurse did a half hour earlier? Don’t y’all hate repeating things?
    Maybe this is the “WHY” VHA’s are missing acute illnesses, ie: strokes, heart problems, etc., which cause veterans to have to go to the emergency room so often!?!!?!
    It seems there’s enough evidence to back up this claim!
    Could this be partly to blame for “the alarming scandal of veterans suicide”? We’ve seen evidence of this “scourge” on here numerous times!

    As far as the “Veterans Choice Program”, does anyone believe Shulkin?
    I wrote on here, a few days ago, where VA wants that $10 BILLION BACK IN THE VA! Which would shut “Choice” down completely!

    As far as the DAV goes, it might benefit all of you, who haven’t “visited” the website — “DAVREFORM.org” — to do so! Ben was also involved in helping those bring that site together years ago. You’ll learn more about that fake-ass VSO!

    Shulkin needs to have, and make it perfectly clear to VA employees, IT’S OVER! NO MORE FUCKING OVER VETERANS!
    Also, NO MORE BONUSES!!!!!!!!
    IF they can’t do their jobs efficiently, then they DON’T need a job at VA!
    Start abiding by the laws set down by Congress! Those laws have, more likely than not, have been on the books longer than most have worked at VA!

    • @Crazy elf” – Good points everyone posted. I believe that many VA Nurse Practitioners [NP’s], Clinical Pharmacologists [CP’s], Physician Assistants [PA’s], and Primary Care Physicians or Providers [PCP’s], don’t review the Veterans charts in order to be familiar with the past medical problems, they don’t take into consideration what the Veteran expresses on how effective a past or current treatment is, and most importantly the last two points, many VA medical providers don’t ask Veterans medical probing questions, and how the medical condition(s) of the Veteran is effecting other areas in the Veterans life [i.e. insomnia, mobility, stress, spouse, children, caregivers, other household members, etc.].

      Plus, many VA medical providers don’t have a warm and expressive behavior when evaluating patients during a face to face appointment. The attitude of the medical provider is important to make a patient feel comfortable.

      • “[Plus, many VA medical providers don’t have a warm and expressive behavior when evaluating patients during a face to face appointment. The attitude of the medical provider is important to make a patient feel comfortable.]”

        Yeah, something about the sharp pointy teeth and fangs and the evil sinister grin of the VA witch dr. hacks is more than disquieting. Then there’s the total lack of interest in a given Veteran’s daily life while the hack types into the computer and if you’re lucky, they will even touch you with an ice cold stethoscope that’s been resting in a bucket of liquid nitrogen…spared no expense as this liquid nitrogen was harvested from a passing-by asteroid…spared no expense you a Veteran’s discomfort. 🙂

      • @ANutterVet,
        I know for a fact, my PCP has never reviewed my medical records.

        She has absolutely NO clue whatsoever about my physical or mental health! She didn’t even know what the medical term: “Peripheral Polyneuropathy” (of all four extremities) meant!
        She was also unaware it was/is one of the “conditions” set down in the Agent Orange conditions!
        Even though I receive “disability compensation” for this “disease”! Which is on every document she’s supposed to review BEFORE I see her.

        The two tests I’ve taken, a year and a half ago, show an “increase in the severity”. Compared to the many test taken years ago.

        There’s also, in my military AND VHA records, proof of other “health conditions” attributed to Agent Orange, ie; many “Lymphoma removals”, verification of Chloreacne and more. Too many to mention now.

        This is one of the main reasons I question her “expertise in the medical field”! Could she just be there to collect a check? Or, could it be something more sinister? As in, she’s not a real doctor?
        Too many questions, even my wife has stated, are not being answered by this Alleged physician.

        My fear is this:
        Shulkin will kow-tao to the VSO’s, and Congress will do nothing to improve VA!

      • @Crazy elf – Sorry that your going through this like me. Its very frustrating, and I believe that I have suffered more because of it. Whatever these VA leaders do, they need to focus on what is happening in their own facilities. My trust level with them are below the floor. I hope your health improves my Brother.

        Everything that I mentioned in my previous post, I have unfortunately experienced.

      • @91Veteran- I don’t care what they think either. My last appointment-meeting there was another provider that attended. I told my PCP [NP] not to surprise me like this anymore. Call me and let me know that another party will be present. And, let me know the agenda for the meeting. Geesh, to complicated I guess. Brother, I’m getting tired of this shit.

      • Namnibor, you guys reminded me to look once again for my records showing up in the Blue Button.
        The first time I tried, no notes were downloaded. I tried again, and the notes were finally included.
        I insisted I only be seen for service connected issues, so she spent about 30 seconds total on each, and still managed to miss 3 out of 9 conditions.
        What she did include on my notes was that no Alcohol screening took place because of a severe, chronic cognitive impairment, which is news to me.

        If the VA actually listened to patients rather than include all these designer medicine crap questions, they might be more accurate in treating the conditions we are reporting rather than missing them. Or just making shit up.

      • @91Veteran- The VA could be adding other information besides your current conditions. Then when all the records are scanned for problems, they are added up, and then the VA probably submits a report that shows these areas of concern, and they may get more monies into the till. Its possible. But this is the VA, they wouldn’t do such a thing.

        These politicians can kiss my ass as well. Not that I’m prejudice, but Veterans should be on a higher rating for treatment than others. We’re the ones who sacrificed whether we were on the front lines or not. No dam heart.

        And, since the Main Stream Media thinks that they are on top of things that effect our Country, how come they don’t keep airing reports about the VA? If we are all talking about the VA’s problems, surely there is many things that the VA needs to correct. Dip shits. Very Fake News.

      • I sent my PCP a Secure Message after cutting and pasting that section into the message asking them to explain why that is there.

        I learned my lesson some time ago from a PCP falsifying records.

        As for the MSM, hell we can’t even get our own fellow vets to acknowledge there is a problem. I posted on my Facebook page a link to that news article about the old vet lying on the floor of the ER because he was in so much pain.

        This other vet that I served with complained about the usual understaffing, underfunded BS.

        When I provided several comments on what the VA has been spending money on, including a link to a Daily Caller article about the 167 Interior Designers hired by the VA, he took it as just an attack against government employees, and suggested the Daily Caller article was fake news.

        There were several links in the article to sources, but he didn’t even bother reading it.

        He was a good troop when I served with him, but at some point he jumped on the gravy train as a DOD civilian. He’s served as a civilian in Afghanistan and likely elsewhere, so I can’t understand his attitude towards fellow vets needing health care and suffering in pain.

      • @91Veteran – Vets who don’t see what is going on within the VA they have their heads in the sand. Nothing more to say about these folks. There not on our team. And, the big political differences applies to Veterans as well. The Great Divide in America.

      • Crazy Elf, if I had a quack like that as a PCP I would be looking up their licensing and credentials.

        Not on the VA web site though since they like to obscure where their doctors go to med school of its an overseas school.

        I found one VA doctor went to med school in the Cayman Islands at some school named like St. Jonathon University of the Caymon Islands. His VA profile showed he went to med school at St Jonathons University, and listed nothing about where.

    • Not sure if Shulkin is trying or if he’s creating smoke screens so he doesn’t wind up dragged face-first over a hot coal bed by Trump.

      • No worries, most VA witch dr’s can walk on hot coals, no problem. However, face-first will be interesting to see how resilient the zombie powder dust actually is. Might be defense contracting potential for his golden parachute when Trump says, You’re Fired! 🙂

      • No worries, most VA witch dr’s can walk on hot coals, no problem. However, dragged face-first on hot coals will be interesting to see how resilient the zombie powder dust actually is. Might be defense contracting potential for his golden parachute when Trump says, You’re Fired! 🙂

      • @namnibor,@Crazy elf,@ANutterVet,@Don Avant: Everyone is on the money here, Don, I like the idea of when a veteran wins their appeal, they should get the bonus money paid to the one who denied it in the frist place.’
        As far as doctors go, again your all on the money, mine doesn’t even lay a hand on me, he reads to me from a computer screen all the shit I already know, with a twist, he doesn’t know how to pronounce the medical terms for my injuries. AS far as the VSO’S go, how many times has anyone walked into one of their offices, and felt like you interupted them, although they were just starring into the air? They don’t know shit about anything either, excepet where the damn canteen and shitter is at. That is why I get the distinct feeling, that there is an underying current of (things aren’t what they seem to be) when ever I go to the va. Lots of veterans walking around, lots of people in little white coats, plenty of people behind desks. But I feel that at any second if you were to ask the wrong question, everything would come to a hault, alll would raise their hands in typical zombie fasion, and start walking into walls…………….there is just someting very strange with the va, compared to a legitimate hospital. It kinda freaks me out a bit, especially with all the different non-American accents everyone speaks. The movie Soylent Green comes to mind……geez just gave me self the shivers.

        Here lies the bones of a screwed over vet,
        He spent his whole life being denied his connect,
        He searched and he searched in a feudal hunt,
        To find good healthcare for an honorable grunt.
        They finally found him after he dropped dead,
        The poor suffering veteran put a gun to his head.

    • Crazy elf YOU NAILED IT WITH THIS COMMENT …..I would add, VHA healthcare providers, PCP’s, nurses, PA’s etc., who only “perform at the minimum” for veterans health-care, need to be gone!
      How many out there, at your appointment, have nothing done except a “routine exam”? Ex; blood pressure, PCP listening with a stethoscope,….but you forgot the rubber glove they always want to stick up your ass which I refuse every time. I have even sent a message on secure messaging before my appointment about my concerns and he still ignores them ……what a bunch of brown fingers LOL

      • @OLDMARINE,
        Hey, brother, not once since I’ve gone to the VHA in Lake Baldwin, Orlando, Fl. has a PCP ever put on that dreaded rubber glove to give me that “Finger Wave”!
        I also wouldn’t allow that to happen even IF the PCP wanted to.
        Don’t trust VA one freaking bit!

  9. What does “Veteran Choice” and “Military Intelligence” have in common?

    Yup you guessed it niether none of those words belong in the same sentence.

    • Hey, Bill,
      Military Intelligence is fucked up!

      Check out “The Battle of Ko-Tang”, May 1975! This “operation” IS considered the “end of the war in Southeast Asia!”

      That was a FUBAR from the beginning. The Marine Corps even refuses to admit the “intelligence reports” were flawed from the beginning! We lost many Marines in that “exercise” of futility, against a newly formed enemy.

      My “brother” who passed last April, of Pancreatic Cancer the VHA in Daytona Beach failed/refused to diagnose, was on that “operation”! He was one of the last taken to the ship by helicopter. Which, by the way, crashed, and he and others had to be rescued by rescue boat.

      I understand exactly what you mean, when putting two words together, that diametrically oppose each other!!!!!!

      • I am sorry for yor you loss. If your brother was anything like you i am sure he wad a good man.

        Unless I am mistaken the marines in the failed op were stationed in okinawa. I was also there in 1975. We went on alert but were sent in.

      • Elf. Sorry about yet another brother from a different mother.

        Military Intelligence was pretty darn good back in that day. What’s fucked-up is what “management” does with it. I was Army Intel – ASA – Top Sec Umbra working the KR mission out of Thailand up to end Oct 74. I was also involved in watching FANK (Cambodian Friendlies). In God We Trust – Everyone Else We Monitor. While I do not know what was on the Mayaguez that day, I do know that Kompong Som was a port of exit for certain antiquities, gold, and probably pure China White Smack. Lon Nol and his boys knew things were coming apart, and I’m sure knew about what the China backed KR had planned. If I knew, I have to assume they did too. That area and west had been Pol Pot’s turf for a very long time. But Lon Nol’s better units were being diverted to clear transport for goodies coming out of Phnom Penh – under the direction of General Sosthene Fernandez, who, had withheld US provided payroll for actual FANK troops, and, had claimed “ghost” armies – double double dipping. Antiquities (and likely smack from Burma via Laos) from Angkor Wat/Siem Reap, were barged down the Tonle Sap – off loaded, trucked to PP, and then down to the port of KGS. Rubber exports…. Right. Lon Nol wound up in Hawaii, Fernandez in Paris: both quite wealthy.
        We still had assets with ears up to May 75. A guy I knew hunted me down a few years later and reported that the Mayaguez issue “stunk to high Heaven”.

        Forty years later I’m still trying to wrap my head around abandoning two million Cambodians to left-over Chinese Cultural Revolution doctrine prodded along by Chiang Ching (Mao’s Wife) and the Gang of Four. Kissinger was in Peking giving NWO noggin to Chairman Mao while Pol Pot and his boys marched anyone educated to their deaths. Every night. Every day. It never leaves…

  10. I’m all for eliminating the Choice program as long as the eliminate the as long as the eliminate the NEED for the program first by providing timely, quality health care first…Eliminate the NEED for the program before you eliminate the program…

    As for the Benefits backlog, mandatory adjucation within 60 days. If the claim is not decided within 60 day it’s automatically granted in favor of the Vet…NO RUBBER STAMP DENIALS…If a Vet is denied and wins on appeal, the person making the denial is responsible for the back pay…

  11. Now I understand the dragging of feet in this year’s appointment approval. Didn’t realize the Choice Program had a sunset clause.

    Hope he get it. The VA needs the competition. Director’s budgets getting drawn on for choice so they will try to nicely attract veterans to the VA instead of trying to use bullying.

    Might lead to some overall improvement and less belly aching when some of the complainers can’t find the service they think is out there some where.

  12. If VA Sec. Shulkin and Team want to really eliminate the Choice Program Restrictions, why not follow a RANDOM handful of Veterans attempting to utilize Choice across the USA as to actually SEE WHERE the problems exist first before slapping band-aids to a program without properly knowing what is broken with program?
    If Shulkin is relying on the Dino VSO’s for feedback, I highly doubt too many piggies actually use Choice and if they do, more than likely receive preferential Choice treatment….no, how about some plain without peanut Veterans that actually NEED Choice? (Yes, I just compared the VSO piggies to M&M’s with nuts…no balls, just nuts, to be clear) 🙂 They still melt in you mouth, not in your hands. 🙂

  13. This was the “Message” on “Fox News” yesterday.
    Titled;

    “Vets Blast Warren Over Support for Illegals – Dana Loesch”

    Posted on 26 Feb. 2017 (7:30 min.)

    Think about it. Illegals are ripping off “entitlements” specifically designed to help citizens of the United States!

    Wouldn’t it be amazing to see Congresspeople fighting for veterans instead of illegal immigrants?!?!?

    Today’s blog is a great example of WHAT Congress, Secretary of VA and other appointed officials should be asking about. It seems most of those in high places only care about the “bottom line” ($$$$$$$$)! Not the kinds of corruption, waste, fraud and abuse permeating within almost ALL government agencies.

    I think, the next time your “Elected Official” has a “Town Hall”, go there! Show your support, and at the same time, your distain for what is happening to veterans nationwide!

    • P.S.
      Y’all can also google this;

      “Immigration Outrage —-
      “Vets Blast Warren Over Support for Illegals – Dana Loesch”

      What was said by Dana is exactly what all veterans should be saying to their elected and appointed officials!

  14. @crazy elf
    Were you deployed to Iraq?
    I have polyneuropathy and full body fasciculations. My face has been asleep (pins/needles/electrical fire) for years and 11 herniated or flat vertebral discs…there’s more but that’s enough for now. I’m not allowed to go to a neurosurgeon again. The tests the previous one did were positive but they wrote in my file the tests showed nothing. They scanned my brain and it showed results proving TBIs but then they erased the files at the VA. I’ve had 12 MRIs for my entire spine and each time the results got worse. However, the doc/PCP tells me it’s not bad yet. Then in the same sentence they issue me a cane and walker…I was 31. Nothing changed with their responses and I’m 35 now. I’ve been bitch ing about this since September 2005.

    • Peterson L.H sorry to hear about your problems you need to try to get some outside care…..i keep track of my own blood-work because i am at stage one ,after a friend of mine kept complaining he didn’t feel good and moved to FLA went to the V,A. there and found out on his first blood work he had stage 4 cancer died in 4 months…agent orange…. i have highs and lows on my blood work and the witch doctor tells me my blood work looks good. they really are trying to kill us

    • Peterson L. H.
      No, I was never in Iraq. My multiple services include;
      first;
      Army 64-69
      Vietnam 2 years, 2 months and 2 days! Which is the reasons behind my disabilities due to Agent Orange.

      second,
      Navy from 75 to 82, Honorably discharged under medical. “Operation Fluid Drive”, June 1976, “evacuation of civilians held captive by Hezbollah”!

      In 1979 is when my body started going to shit. So, after a couple years of medical exams, the Navy decided to release me, “FOR THE GOOD OF THE SERVICE!”
      I felt like I had a few great years left. They didn’t! End of story!

      • Well, holy crap.
        After my first fun IED time, my problessings started. A bunch of IEDs later, with a daily heavy steel rain for good measure my body was wrecked. (Infantryman here) nobody else was whining so, neither did i.
        Now, I’m lucky to walk from the couch to the bed and back. But hey, it’s not bad enough yet…fuckin piss ant neuroteam.

  15. Speaking from experience, Veterans Choice needs to fix their payment problems. My most recent Veteran Choice referral to a specialist now is over 90 days since service and no payment has been made. Friday evening I received a notice from the provider they want immediate payment. They’re threatening to ruin my credit. Why do we continue to be treated like this?

    Why is it Tricare is paid timely but Veterans Choice payments continue to be a disaster? Aren’t these programs managed by the same company?

    One more item — for veterans who’ve been victims of a doctor or staff at a VA Medical Center or CBOC, priority should be given to get those veterans into private care. Forcing veterans to be repeatedly exposed to abusive medical staff undermines any due diligence to appropriately treat.

    • @ Disgruntled Veteran, the people handling the choice program dollars at the va medical center is handled by va employees (at the va medical center near me). They are called fee base clerks. Ask for the fee base office staffing extension number. You may be able to speed up your appointments and payments to your outside doctors if you call them. Good luck to you.

    • @Just Another Veteran,

      Send a copy of the bill to Shulkin. With a hand written note of what the provider said to you!
      Keep it short and sweet,
      Close by asking this one simple question—–
      “Sir, What are you going to do about this?”

  16. @Crazy elf, and ALL:

    Ohio Breaking News: Audit of Illegals and Non-citizen refugees registered to vote and some voted:

    “821 Non-Citizens registered to vote in Ohio…of these illegal residents, the tally in Ohio is about 128 of them illegally voted in last election” Breaking News in Ohio. The names of the illegal non-citizens are being referred to proper agency investigation and action.
    Remember when Obama told the illegals and non-citizen political refugees they could go ahead and vote? Well, if Ohio had this many, what’s the other 49 States and U.S. territories have on the “registered voter books”?
    President Trump is indeed starting the drain of the swamp. Ever drain an in-ground swimming pool or anything with syphon? Takes a while, then you have the clogs…constant mess…and we are starting to see real light being shed on what Pres. Trump was pointing out…breaking news. Just google it, Ohio Illegal Voter Registration. A bunch of swamp beasts just swallowed so hard their anus is now part of their thyroid gland. 🙂

  17. And another thing that really PISSES ME THE FUCK OFF. Why the hell is the va spending money on commercials mis informing veterans, and therefore the public, about how great the va healthcare is, showin what looks like a combination of club med, and Rush Medical Center, instead of paying their bills, so VETERANS DON’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH COLLECTIONS, and have their CREDIT go down tlhe drain. This current push to show the va in a good light is disturbing. My gut tells me this is all about giving the va a facelift on the same old hag. If beauty is only skin deep, then the va’s face must be turned inside out.

  18. I am leery about any Choice legislation. Its being pushed already in Congress by McCain, so it makes me wonder why that is being done. I can’t believe it’s to help veterans.

    But I must ask, why is McCain pushing it and not Isakson? Did he fall off his friggin Stairmaster and forget he’s the Senate VA committee chair? I would send the Stripes article to him via Twitter but he has me blocked now. Didn’t like bad news I guess.

    Perhaps the legislation will help, but I see some on Facebook that worry elimination of the 40 mile rule will force them back in to the VA, and force them to drive long distances.

    I find it hard to care since I believe the Choice program is still a disaster no matter what kind of bloody band aides they want to put on it.

    As for Shulkin needing legislation to fire bad employees, that’s just a bullshit excuse to continue to do nothing. He has the authority needed to fire those committing fraud, those that cannot show up for work consistently, those ripping off travel funds, those beating veterans to death. He just chooses not to use that authority.

    He doesn’t need additional authority to fire those still retaliating against whistle blowers. Its already against the law.

    There is a posting on Facebook about veterans having to wait in an ER in NC for hours, with a picture of one lying on the floor because he was in so much pain, and another bent over in a wheel chair because he too was in serious pain. Both ignored or treated badly by the worthless, rude nurse on duty.

    According to an update, supposedly the Chief of Nursing is investigating. I suspect retraining as punishment or a transfer at most.

    …and the veteran who took the picture will have all kinds of interesting things happen to his medical files and pleasant VA experiences.

    Finally, Shulkin claims in the Stripes article that the VA cannot be completely privatized because the VA is the only entity with a “military cultural competency”, whatever that horseshit means.

    If they had military cultural competency, they would be punctual. They would not dishonor themselves by lying, cheating and stealing. They would not watch other veterans suffer because doing something might interrupt a Hungry Hippos game. Most of all, there would be accountability that was swift and sure to come for the crimes they commit daily.

    • @91 Veteran: Military Cultural Competency…………………does that mean also, that the va will quit recruiting in 3rd world and impoverished countries for doctors? I think they put more emphasis on spreading the wealth to those very same mentioned, then they do veterans healthcare. Just another reason the va has a creep factor rating in the 90’s.

      Oh wait, are they accusing veterans of denying other veterans treatment on let’s say the battlefield, and getting a bonus for a job well done?

      Or, I know you have to go fight a war son, but there is a wait list you see, so you will just have to fight hand to hand until we have time to issue any kind of weapon.

      Or, no, no, no, if you don’t have a spear through your head and you can’t turn around in a closet, then your obviously making all this shit up……………….next??

      • VA Sec. Shulkin’s “Military Cultural Competency” is just PhD goobly-gook for “No Prior Military Service” but am trying to relate to you Veterans.

        Salisbury Steak = Nice way of ordering hamburger shaped sort of like a steak.

        Steak Tar Tar = Raw Hamburger.

      • @namnibor: [email protected] Tar Tar. That brought back a memmory. I was installing a kitchen in a steakhoue in Indy. They started to bring in product. At the time, I was leveling a chefs counter, so I was laying on the ground. I hear one of the construction workers say “this must be a fancy place, look at all of these boxes of beef pate’ ” in a strong southern drawl, then I hear another worker say “that says beef patty you idiot” I was laughng so hard, then I hear them say “those guys from Chicago are laughing at us again” hahahahaha. I sure miss those days.

      • I wonder if VA Sec. Shulkin will do like McDonald did and go out on the street for a PR shot next to a cold Homeless Veteran and shake his hand while thanking the Veteran for his “Military Cultural Competency”…you know, in an effort to “connect with a Vet”?

        I wonder if the word he was looking for was …”camaraderie”, as in Military Camaraderie? It still would have been completely wrong context when speaking of non-veteran VA employees.

        My crystal ball sees smoke & mirrors and flying monkeys that got into the poppies again. 🙂

      • @namnibor: Oh my God. If he were ever to use a homeless vet like that? That better never happen………

        Some days I wish to be one of those flying monkeys in the poppies.

      • Yeah, I don’t know what kind of BS Shulkin means by this military cultural competency BS.

        If he were truly concerned about that, the AFGE contract would not illegally restrict hiring veterans.

      • @91Veteran – I didn’t know that the AGFE don’t allow the hiring of Veterans. If so, that is asinine, and makes me even more suspicious of the dam system. Taking a break for a while. Need to relax and refresh.

      • ANutterVet, I believe Ben had a post on the AFGE contract or I read it somewhere where the contract specified a large number of jobs in the VA are only open to other AFGE members first.

        The only jobs directly open to veterans were janitor and one other.

      • @91Veteran – And we all know that these policies so the Veterans have first dibs on a VA job should be a priority.

  19. Not ever has PCP asked me, “Do you have any current complaints, conditions, issues, or problems that I should be aware of today?” “How are the medications working out for you?” “I know that your disability is hard on you, how is it effecting your social life?” “How is the rest of your family doing?”

    The above are very simple questions, and are what I mean by medical probing questions. And, the answers from these questions will tell the PCP a lot about how his prescribed medical treatment is working [efficacy], and what other measures that the PCP may have to adjust, add, or detract from your healthcare modalities.

    Around 12:45pm, the In-Home Nurse that evaluated me, dropped me off one patch from another brand of 5% Lidocaine Patch. When he visited me, I showed him my current patch, and he said that his wife had that same brand and it doesn’t work. The patch will not adhere to your skin, it falls right off.

    How much is the VA paying these medical product and pharmaceutical manufacturers for ineffective products? And, does the manufacturers jack up the prices because they are dealing with the Federal Government? Who checks these products to make sure that the work. Does the VA have some sort of quality control inspection when they receive medical products?

    And, I was put on the same medication, but from a different pharmaceutical manufacturer. I told my PCP [actually a Nurse Practitioner], that the new brand of medication does not work. She replied, “the medication is in the tab.” Question, “how does this become my problem when a medication doesn’t work as well?” And, why should I have to take two tabs of this medication to see if that works, when the first brand gave me relief from my chronic pain?”

    I bring many questions up to my PCP to no avail. There is no teamwork or trust between the Veteran patient and the treating medical provider. “So how in the fuck do you expect someone to get better or to control their symptoms the best that can be expected?”

    I have never been exposed to such idiotic and incompetent medical treatment in my whole life. And, if you were still in the military, and your buddy was calling out for help, how long would your buddy cry out for help until you tried to help him? For me, I’ve been calling out for help for over a year. And, my PCP still doesn’t want to address or help me in the areas that I’m concerned about.

    Here is another question, “if a certain medication has given you relieve in the past, and your PCP has prescribed new medications that don’t give your any relief and causes annoying side effects, or you don’t want to be prescribed anti-depressants for anxiety or pain, what are you supposed to do? Do I have to suffer because the other medications don’t work, or I can’t handle the side effects?” This is getting old.

    • @ANutterVet: Your first paragraph says volumes of the disconnect at the va.

      If I got my medical liscence out of a box of cracker jacks, and my patient told me “this med has always helped, and allows me to live a better life” and I could see it was not a harmful med for my patient………….then wtf? No brainer, scribe it, check back with the patient to see how he is doing Come up with an actual treatment plan, tailored to your patient. One size does not fit all. When I feel my back starting to act up, I can get a shot of toradol, and stop it in it’s tracks. The same for another person is useless. I have had people tell me botox injections into the nerves of your back works great, it didn’t do a damn thing for me. When a doctor stops listening to patient, wtf good is he/she? Might as well go out into the backyard and yell at a tree “tree………..this damn med is not working” “did you hear me tree?” “tree……….I am talking to you” tree falls over.

    • @ ANutterVet, the manner in which you have been receiving medical treatment from the va is the ongoing problem that plagues the Veteran population. They give you their course of treatment, not caring if it is helping you or alleviating pain of symptoms or improvement of your health. This is what angers me the most with va healthcare, THEY DO NOT CARE!!!!

      The va’s livelihood is not dependent on patient/Veteran satisfaction. It is cruel, just cruel, how they treat a Veteran!!! Where is their humanity at? For another human being who is sick and disabled?? What about their oath as doctors to care and cause no harm? In the va system that spirit died a long time ago if it was ever there in the first place.

      @ ANutterVet, i feel your pain and frustration and i have been praying for a better solution and that better care to comes to help you. These people may have to reap what they sow someday and then they maybe sorry because life does that sometimes or God steps in and says enough! Vengeance is Gods’ and he says “i will repay”. If someone was hurting or needed your help, i know you would help them like most Veterans in this blog, they would extend some assistance.

    • You have to ask for a change of PCP. Then explain to the new PCP why you ask for the change. Often individual beliefs reign dominant with professionals. “Inattentive blindness”: look it up. Your PCP needs a psychiatrist.

      • @Lem – Yeah, I’ve changed PCP’s already, 5 times in less than 4 years. It seems as though the policy at my local VA or somewhere in the chain of command, there is a big problem. I’ve had my circumstances reviewed by out licensed medical professionals, and they all said that I have solid arguments. I guess I’ll have mama go off on them. Looking for additional tactics to put these off the wall issues to rest once and for all.

      • @Lem – There were requests made for my PCP to see a Psychiatrist. Denied, denied, and denied. Sound familiar. LOL

      • Sorry for the delayed response. Nutter, use the reference “inattentive blindness victim” next time you talk to a PCP. Tell them they have made a conclusion without listening and looking. You might look up some studies like the experienced space shuttle pilots landing on people in the runway during simulated landings while inexperienced pilots avoided the stuff that shouldn’t be on the run way.

        There is one where 100% of the car counters didn’t see a gorilla walking in the median of the 4 lanes they were counting and swore when shown a video that the video was faked.

        Professionals are most susceptible to “inattentive blindness” and that includes physicians.

      • Also you can do the research and write a letter to the editor of a local paper. Your Director will see it. You’ll get a call. I did.

  20. A typical visit to your local va. You put your left foot in, you take your left foot out, you put your left foot in, and you shake it all about, you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about. While your doing that, your doctor is doing the hungry hungry hippo. The administrators are all doing the funky chicken dance, and phyc ward is dancing to the jail house rock. The imaging dept is seeing if they can explode eggs in an mri, the women techs are using the x-ray machine to see if there really is any bones in a boner, while another batch of med school students are using the ct for really scanning cats, and then wondering why everything smells like p………..y.

  21. @cj – The problem with one medication is that the younger peeps use it for the euphoric effect. And, the caution on the med states, that it may be addictive, not that it is addictive. I was on this med for over 10 years with no side effects, and when the VA wouldn’t prescribe it to me, I didn’t have a hard time because I tapered the dose down.

    Treatment plan? WTF is that? Never heard such of a thing. Your right, the VA doesn’t recognize that one size doesn’t fit all. This is well documented in reputable medical journals. I’ve read them! This is why I have so many disagreements with my PCP, sorry Nurse Practitioner. I was so fired up at our meeting, and out of disrespect and defiance, I called my PCP and the other overseer by their first name. Fuck them. If they can’t respect me, my life, my wife, my K9, and set me up with a proper medical protocol, then there will always be a problem that is not being addressed.

    Like you, toradol [an anti-inflammatory NSAID] doesn’t work for me either. So if the information is in my records, why do they keep on asking or telling me about toradol. I believe the medical providers are more concerned about their time per patient, compared to EFFECTIVELY treating their patient. If a medical treatment that they suggest doesn’t work, then why is this the Veterans problem?

    Right after taking my meds I went into the woods, and I tried yelling at a tree. Funny thing, it talked back. I ran out of the woods.

    • @ANutterVet: That is exactly why I like my private pcp, She has a “treatment plan” tailored just for me. I also have every specialist I see, forward all of their reports to her, so when she looks at alll the data, she knows exactly what is going on.

      How can the va, after so many decades of data, not possibly know what the hell to do? It is incomprehensible to me the level of incompetence…………………….wholly carp I used two big words in the same sentence. How’s that for a biligual illiterate? That’s right, I can’t read or write in two different languages.

      • You could ask for your treatment plan to be taken to the treatment team. (This is suppose to be a weekly meeting). Tell them that you state their course of treatment is not beneficial and that you repeatedly asked for medications that worked in the past and that they keep denying you that beneficial medication.

      • @Ex va: I am sure in their weekly meeting, they all gather around a pinata in the shape of a hungry hippo, and tape a picture of their patients on it, and take turns trying to bust it open, to get all those missing meds they been talking about. I would never, under any circumstance, give the va my medical file from my private providers. All they would do is use it as a weapon not an asset.

      • @cj – I wouldn’t want to give the VA my med file from the private sector neither. But you have to understand, there is no other way to prove my points per previous medical and pharmaceutical treatments. And, there is nothing in my private sector files besides appointment notes of my medical condition(s) and prescription history. That’s it.

        And remember, the VA PCP’s have this all down to their own little dirty science tricks. They can and will take things out of proportion and use it against you. I’ll bet you cj, that every Veteran on Ben’s blog can tell you a story how the VA tried to twist things around either make you look bad, or to make them look good.

        Shootz, they informed me that I tested positive for another opiate, set my test sample off to another facility for Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrum testing. They informed me, Mr. Dumb Shitter, we’re testing your sample with a GC and MS. It will tell us exactly what you have taken.

        They didn’t realize that I worked on these type of equipment and tested many different types of samples using GC and MS. I was involved when the a very large analytical company changed over to creating new glass capillary columns in order to test liquid and gas samples. They didn’t even think that I know about false positive test results. Once I told them I knew what they were talking about, and added more information, they laid off of the topic. I don’t know if I will hear about the testing or not.

        It doesn’t take that long to do a drug test from a urine sample. A sample from human tissue or blood would take a little longer time, due to further isolating the sample to remove other compounds that could interfere with the GC and MS testing.

        Now, I have to dig deeper to see what is in my files. Do you see how fucking frustrating this is getting. I’m always fighting. CJ, Ex va, 91Veteran, Namnibor, and Crazy elf, I do appreciate your input very much, but this is way out of hand. I feel that they are trying to manipulate me.

      • @Ex va- Brother, thanks for your concern. I have informed them for over 4 years about my medication issues. I don’t want to be on any anti-depressants. Because of their lack·a·dai·si·cal response, this is why I’ve become depressed. And, depression also makes your pain worse. So now its an extra pill that has definite side effects in which I don’t want.

        I don’t want them to think that I’m bowing down to them. As a matter of fact, the treatment team meets without me even knowing about it. Yes, that’s right, no input from me, I’m only a dumb fucking Veteran patient. WTF do I know. Sorry, very pissed off at the VA. I have a whole list of issues that they could and have not cared about.

        I don’t know where to turn too. I need someone that is really got my back covered, and cares about my health.

      • @cj, @Ex va – I have informed them to go back and check the medications that I was previously on. That’s too much to ask. Answer was, their denial was a done deal. That really pissed me the fuck off. I was up and about, doing my chores, taking my wife out, and training my K9 [to not be able to do this really hurts me the most]. My health has deteriorated so much, that I’ve lost a desire sometimes to move on. I have to dig deep to be upbeat about life. No kidding.

        And, when I brought this up to the intake coordinator in Behavioral Health, she informed me that if I had any thoughts of suicide, that the VA’s policy is to immediately admit me into a special section of the ER for observation. I informed her, no way, I don’t know what I would do to any personal that would do something off the wall if I was admitted. You don’t want me in this hospital. She asked me why, I said, “I don’t trust the VA, and I’m in fear of my life.”

        I get very defensive when I feel my life is in jeopardy. I make weapons, hide them in my residence, carry them into the VA, even though the sign says “No Weapons.” And, when I have appointments, I always state at least 2-3 times that I’m not threatening any VA employee. Even though, I feel like my life is being threatened by poor medical care, and the lack of trust that I have in the VA.

        And, my support team is very limited in my area. I’m trying to find someone that I can really trust. Family and local friends are of no help. Hard to find where to turn too.

  22. @namnibor and all,
    This is from the “Daily Headlines”.
    Posted on 23 Feb 2017 by Steven H Able.
    Titled;

    “Illegal Alien Went to Pick Up His Welfare Check But Found This Instead (Video)”

    There’s some very disturbing “factual” statistics in this article.
    Also, do y’all remember, and namnibor stated, when Obama said for all the illegals to vote? Only problem was, he added, quote; “Because, it will make you a citizen!”
    He was actually telling “non-citizens” to commit a felony!

    • @ANutterVet: Sorry, I had to walk away for a while, just now read all your posts. About emails from Bens blog. Lastnight, I was getting email notifications of my own comments, then that stopped. Then it is like everyone is gone to lunch, not a single comment notification for about a half hour. Sure some crazy things going on here that is for sure. There are many things in my private medical files, that I wouldn’t want the va to have possesion of. Like 91 Veteran, I only allow them to treat my service connected injuries, and they don’t do that well at all. Same as Crazy elf, pcp doesn’t seem to have even looked at my medical file. I am not kidding about getting better care from a vetinarian. At least he asks pertinent questions, and has a genuine interest as to how not only my pupps are doing but the family as well.

      • @Ex va – This started to happen to me about 3-4 weeks ago. I thought it was me until I started to monitor it more closely. Lately, it has occurred more often.

      • @ cj, no apologies necessary, i know your not an inconsiderate a******. LOL!!! I feel like i resemble that at times. ROFL!! How are you doing? I am doing about the same. Sorry about your pain today. It sounds like you did a little too much. This weather has been messing me up.

      • @Ex va: Hey Ex va, hows you tonight?? Yes this was a BAD day for pain. Doesn’t happen that often but when it does it’s a doozy. Mostly chest pain from inflamed nerves in the upper back.

      • @ cj, do you think it was something you did to aggravate it. That kinda pain is awful. When i get that i think my heart is the problem and it is just inflammation connective tissue for me. Upper back i feel for you. That sucks. Sorry about the bad pain. I hope you have meds.

      • @Ex va: I don’t know what brings it on. I try not to dwell on it too much. That way it doesn’t bother me that bad. All is good, it sure isn’t as bad as everyone elses here.

      • @Ex va: yeppers, still awake. Same here, my dogo hates thunder, he starts shaking like va upper management. Raining here too. What causes your chest pain, and what do you do to relieve it? Also, what kind of pup you have?

      • @ cj, did you say you garden? I use to grow a lot of tomatoes and lettuce. I would like to try it again. Save on groceries and get me outside. I have some strawberries and grapes and a peach tree.

      • @Ex va: Oh yes I garden, last year I had over 125 tomato plants. This year I will rent out some space from a local farmer to grow even more. I need about 3000 sq ft for tomatoes, another 2000 sq ft for different mellons. In my back yard I will also grow green beans, two different kinds of snap peas, tow kinds of beets, romanesco, sweet corn, orange sweet peppers, heirloom lettuce, brussle sprouts, and garlic. That is a lot of food. What we don’t use I bring to the veterans food locker.

      • @Ex va: I have over 200 varieties of tomato seeds. Here is my list of tomatoes I will grow this year.

        X kellogs breakfast
        X hawiian pineapple
        X anna russian
        X druzba
        X 1884
        X amana orange
        X hillbilly
        X rose de summer
        X pineapple
        X andrew raharts jumbo red
        X illini star
        X large red
        X omars lebanese

      • @ cj, va upper management shaking!! LOL! They hide under their desks till it blows over. I get bad back spasms 9-10 on scale. Feels like a heart attack sometimes, but it is not. Take a pain med and try to lay down and relax it.

        Rescue dog, border terrier mix. She wants to bite people sometimes. Not very friendly she was abused. Good to me when i am sick she stays by my side.

        Need a raised bed or container garden so i don’t have to bend possibly.

      • @Ex va: Raised beds are the way to go if you can do it. I don’t have enough money to buy all the lumber and dirt to do that. Sounds like a great little dog you have there.

      • Ever try hydro kinesthetic therapy? The pain clinic in DC used it well from 96-98. After the retirement of the therapist his understudy apparently didn’t learn anything from him. He was a one size fits all therapist using compressive techniques for spurs on patients with herniated and ruptured discs that need stretching.

        I used the techniques taught me in 96-98 in Ibusuki Japan hot sands beach to stretch my spine with a life preserver, bicycle inner tube around my neck, and a diver’s weight belt around my waist. 10 days of exercise twice a year was enough with using Canadian Crutches and a semi rigid cervical collar 1.5 hour walk per day. All I use for pain now is capsaicin cream. I keep a 10 day supply of T3 but haven’t needed it for more than a year.

        The problem with the VA pool therapy in DC was there wasn’t enough pool time allocated for any real benefit. Any physical therapist knows you need at least 4 hours of exercise per week for any benefit. 2 hours per week allotted wasn’t nearly enough.

      • @ cj, you must be a good gardener. That is a lot of food. That is generous of you. I use to do that when i was younger. I would like to try something small. You have a rototiller? I hope for the size you have. You can’t beat home grown tomatoes. I loved those heirloom for eating. Plum tomatoes good for canning. Do you start your plants from seeds? I use to for tomatoes.

      • @Ex va: yes, have an old tiller that still works great. I start my seeds not this Saturday but the following Mid March. I start my seed in a proofing box to control the temp. then they all get planted in what I call my Polynesian room. It’s a room set up just for starting plants. I control the temp, humidity air movement, and lighting. All tomatoes will get transplanted 4 times, and each time they get all branches and leaves cut off and burried up to the last two leaves. when they are ready to go in the ground they are a good 12 inches tall and hardened.

      • @ cj, i can’t afford raised beds. Thinking about container gardening maybe. I will have to check prices on what i can afford. What do you use to fertilize? I can get some manure from my uncle. Now i am really thinking about it. Do you have a hot bed for your seedlings? I don’t have even a gro lamp now. I will have to try to figure what i can do and afford.

      • @Ex va: I compost all year long, for use in the backyard gardens. When I go to put the tomatoes in the ground I throw a handful of concentrated purple cow. it makes em grow like crazy. it costs but its worth it. This year since I am going to rent farm land, it should already be fertilized by the farmer. This is the first year I will be renting land. Will see how it goes. No hot beds, but I have seen them and are very cool. I get a little crazy with growing. My wife thinks I lost my mind.

      • @Ex va: For grow lights I just use cheap flourescent shop lights and put full spectrum bulbs in. No need to go any more then than.

      • @ cj, you are growing roots where you pull off those leaves, that gives you a great root system for tomatoes. You know what you are doing. LOL! That is great. You know tomatoes could grow all year if they were allowed to? Well, i say you are an impressive farmer. LOL! You know your gardening. A lot of people can’t garden like that they don’t have those skills or knowledge. We have some Amish communities and they have a tough time growing around here sometimes.

      • @Ex va: I sure wish I could get some of those heirloom seeds that the Amish are using. Geez they have some awesome stuff they grow. I had some Todd county Amish tomatoes from minnesota, they didn’t do to well last year. I don’t think I gave them enough room. Didn’t realize they needed way mroe than mose heirlooms.

      • @Ex va: Ex, I need to get some sleep, will talk another time. Have a good night and sleep well. God Bless you and your family.

      • @ cj, hadn’t thought of shop lights, that would definitely be cheaper. Build a small shelf with the shop light hanging above. I can see that. Those kits are too damn expensive. I hope you do well with the extra grow space. You can’t beat the taste of fresh vegetables. I have to go small. Back couldn’t take much. I need to do physical therapy again.

      • @ Lem, thanks for the advice. I will see what kinda physical therapy i can do. This time of the year i usually do some therapy. I do not know if they have hydro kinesthetic therapy around here i can ask about it. I was doing water therapy before. It helped a little. Chiropractor helped me some too. I will see what i can try here.

  23. @cj – The first thing that any medical provider needs to do is to establish trust. And, the VA should already know this. This is a no brainer. Without trust and sincerity, the Veteran will always be suspicious of their medical care. This problem needs to be addressed. We are talking about the precious lives of people [Veterans] who signed on the line to protect our Country. In order to protect the freedoms of others. That in itself, says much.

  24. Off Topic Repost – If you’re being prescribed pain medications, be aware of there effects that many PCP’s aren’t discussing with you. Visit “https://www.opiate-freedom-center.com/opioid-addiction-naturally-increase-your-bodies-endorphins-serotonin/”

    Even if you’re taking a different class of medication, please Google to see how your medication may effect your levels of Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins, or other organic compounds that your body requires. When this important chemical messengers are effected. it may cause additional medical problems.

  25. I am certain that it is not going to be easy still, getting the doctor to refer you to a specialist in the first place.

    Now if they want to have a choice program for anyone without going through bureaucrapic (sic on purpose) red tape that that would be great.

    I am lucky as I was able to get medicare this year. Well I wouldn’t call it lucky since it means I am old. I would rather use the V.A. though and not have all these high co-pays.

    I just think there will be a lot more stipulations that will still make it hard to use is all, only time will tell.

    • I don’t know if things are changing or if HealthNet knows I will raise 3 shades of hell about an appointment and how incompetent they are…including sending tweets to Nancy Pelosi about her friend George Miller who sits on Healthnets board.

      As I commented before, I was referred on Feb 6. I got a voice mail from HealthNet to call them around Feb 15. I called them and confirmed my info, then waited to hear after they scheduled the appointment.

      I called the provider today, and while they said they had the authorization, they had not yet been called by. Choice.

      I called Choice, and she tried to tell me the provider likely hadn’t gotten the authorization yet, and that HealthNet only faxed it to them Friday. She claimed HealthNet called the provider today.

      I told her they just told me they had the authorization, but nobody from HealthNet had called to schedule the appointment.

      A couple hours later, I got a voice mail from HealthNet saying they had scheduled the appointment.

      Its a big change from last year when I called them 2-3 times a week for 57 days before they scheduled the appointment.

  26. In my opinion, “Shithead Shulkin” isn’t playing with a full deck.
    As a matter of fact, I believe he’s not going to change the VA ‘vulture culture’ one damn bit!
    I also believe, he’s going to allow asswipes like McCain and the VSO’s dictate whatever they want to him!
    Don’t be surprised *IF* the VA gets worse in the following months.
    I’ve just got this really bad feeling in the back of my mind!
    _________________________

    Here’s a video from;
    “Not Fake News”
    Posted:
    27 Feb. 2017. (6:56 min. long)
    Titled:

    “Previously – Deported Illegal Beats Desert Storm Veteran To Death!”

    There’s also a video from the news station that reported the incident.
    According to the media, the veteran, who was a “…15 year Navy Veteran…” finally “…passed away last friday.” according to the news station!
    The officials are possibly upgrading his charges to “Capital Murder!”
    Lastly, this illegal immigrant had been deported multiple times!
    This begs the question, “How in the Hell do these reprobates keep sneaking back into our country?” Are they paying border patrol officers to look the other way?
    Something isn’t right here folks!

    • P.S.
      Y’all do realize “Shithead Shulkin” was at the “bottom of the barrel” when President Trump picked him to be the Secretary of VA!
      What do you find at the bottom of the barrel? “SHIT!” Nothing more, nothing less! Just ‘SHIT!”

      • @Crazy elf — Lest you forget there’s always the shit that’s under the shit on the bottom of the barrel. Shulkin was under McDonald. 🙂

      • @namnibor: Thanks bro, I didn’t need that picture in my head, Shulkin under McDonald, I will never order another big mac as long as I live. The very bottom of the barrel lies the dreggs. And yes sir, I am ready for Armageddon. I wish it would start while I can still contribute.

      • @Crazy elf -Phewwww! Can’t you smell that smell, the smell that surrounds you . . . Skynyrd . . . This is the last night of our tour. I smell it from here.

        I thought this same way too Crazy elf. Once I learned Shulkin is one of the good ole boys. No brainer to me. That’s why I don’t post much about him. Waste of my dam time since I already know. He needs to be replaced, and promptly. Been in too long, and since he knows many other colleagues, this causes a conflict of interest.

        Why are most of these helmets [dick heads] not taking swift action in reforming and reorganizing the VA? The writing is all over the wall, and many Veterans are really hurting. There is enough information posted right here on Ben’s blog, that will inform these idiots that changes are required in order to make the VA do what it is supposed to do; to take care of the Veterans who need help to regain their life back as much as possible.

        From this point forward, I’m going to request that my medical providers be given a drug test. I have to protect myself as well due to the corruption and crime being committed by the precious VA employees. The VA should implement a program to reward Veterans who request that their medical providers be drug tested. And, if any medical provider tests positive, the Veteran should receive a reward of $10,000 or more.

        And, the VA employee should be fired if they don’t cooperate in how their scam works. If they cooperate, they should be required to only clean the toilets, take out the trash, and clean up bio hazard solids, fluid, and semi-fluid spells. Or duties of similar nature. Then the regular Sanitation Engineers [janitors], can finish cleaning the restrooms.

        And if the VA can’t expedite the firing of an AGFE employee, then the VA employee should be required to pay back the reward money that was paid to the Veteran in one [1] year, and the VA employee should be paid a wage that equals to the lowest wage that the VA pays an employee or $1 a week. Which ever one is easier to implement.

        The VA employee shall be on this pay schedule and duties for five [5] years. And, if the VA employee commits another infraction or is written up for insubordination, they are immediately terminated.

        The VA employee must sign a contract so that everything is explained. If the VA employee refuses to sign the contract, they are immediately terminated. One way or the other, the VA employee will most likely quit. Better yet, get rid of the AGFE union. Simple as this. My way of Ranting a bit. No sorries for da kine behave yah.

    • Although I do not live out there, I do have an aunt that lives in Phoenix and she said it’s in the local news all the time about the numerous tunnels in various places across the Mexico/U.S. borders, and I watched a border patrol show recently where they said there’s so many known/unknown tunnels along Southern border that it must look like Swiss cheese in soil cross sections.
      That’s why the very logistics of a “wall” are all well and good but seismic sensors and laser and audio triggers are going to have to be employed or people will just continue tunneling or using existing tunnels…there’s already sensors in any areas but they simply tunnel further below as to not set them off…an ever battle of whack a mole, except many get through, and so does the now apparent Meth and Crack Factories in Mexico then they furrow and ferret the drugs under the border…crazy.

      I would add 440 Volts to that entire wall with drones that take off from atop the wall to take care of anyone wanting to play. Have the drones possess reptile tranquilizer darts. Laugh, but ISIS is now using drones against our military…can’t wait for the stepping-up of the military. Might just be Armageddon. I’m ready. Are you?

  27. @Namnibor – I’m ready, only for National Security reasons. Other than that, the next thing that I want overhauled is the VA system. Its bad enough if only one Veteran is hurt by the VA’s incompetence. Enough is enough. When do we start the war using drones and sending out the 440 volts? Build that wall. Veterans, and the American public have more rights than immigrants. Why do we have to suffer for those that want to enter our Country illegally? This absurd. And, the immigrants want Social Security as well. Geesh, many of our politicians are frigging stupid.

  28. [email protected]: The politicians aren’t stupid……..okay yes they are. They are also greedy. Here is the real problem, The left wants Illegals here for votes, the right wants them here for slave labor, and both sides want them here because you have 1000 illegals using the same ss#, that is 1000 paying into the irs from payroll deductions, that is FREE money. None want to give it up. Damn, my pain levels went throught the roof today. Exhilerating, means I am still alive, and this isn’t a bad dream. LOL.

    • @cj – Hang in there cj. There is more to come in the very near future. About illegals, not your pain. We don’t need more of that. I meant that the politicians are stupid about not seeing what is occurring within the VA, and its happening right in front to them. But in the payroll deductions and labor, you’re absolutely correct.

  29. Guys – the election is over. You won’t be needed for another 3.5 years. Thank you for accepting our lip service. Again. And Again. And Again. You didn’t really expect anything to change, did you? FTA, FTVA, FTUSA. Convinced local VVA chapter to attend military career day at a couple local high schools. Our theme will be “Don’t Do It Kid – Ask Us Why”

  30. Was in 2/7 CAV
    The hottest district in Baghdad in 2004, wrecked everything and everyone not in uniform while in AL Fallujah in Nov04. Then shot up the contryside outide of Taji while getting blown up by IEDs.
    Gooood Times.
    Now though, have to sit or stand at the VA, listen to some db tell me they won’t do shit for me because they can’t feel it. Then NOT throat punch them, just smile and take it. Fucking great times…anyone know a good lawyer?

    • @Peterson, L.H.: Damn you been through it.
      What do you mean they said they wont do shit because they can’t feel it?
      Let us know, so we can try and help.

      • A VA neurosurgeon told me to my face that he wouldn’t do surgery “..because it’s bad enough for me to care.”
        Yeah, uh, he’s quite lucky I couldn’t get off my chair. <~~but not bad enough right?
        I guaranty that if that neurosurgeon or anyone working for the fucking VA had even half the physical issues I have, they'd be in the ER every day until they got repaired.

    • There’s always the throat punch – at least two. You’d get much better healthcare behind bars…. Seriously, squeaky wheel gets the grease. I will never apologize for the VA. I will analyze its culture. Massive mission, minimal bandwidth and mediocre motivation to perform on your behalf. None of us should be surprised by attitudes. I’ve had moderate success with MyHealthEVet system. It leaves a trail. Email your PCP (or other primary involved specialist), calmly, ask direct but brief questions. You are now on record. But so is your PCP if he does, or does not respond. I was in a business where litigation was always a possibility. There was a phrase often used that fits well within the dysfunction of the VA. “Say it forget it. Write it, regret it.” Once they see correspondence regarding your healthcare, they’re pretty much obligated to respond. Non-response has consequences (assuming you keep everything). Written responses are records of performance, either medically or administratively. Try it. If you get a “can’t do anything” response, then reply with “can you please refer me to someone who can”. You just inferred that your doc doesn’t have the skill to to treat you.

      If you get kicked down the road for three – six months, you now have a half dozen documented, polite/professional communications to show your Congressperson. Your representatives staffer can’t do squat without documentation. If they try to reach out to the VA on your behalf, they can do little without the proverbial “who, what, when, where…etc”.

      My guess? In 99 out of 100 cases, veterans pose no career impact risk to a PCP or or other provider if they don’t perform. If they are allowed 100% documentary control, you can easily be ignored amidst the mayhem of their days. If you are engaged beyond the 10 minute visit, and that history is recorded, they’ll pay more attention.

      Again, I do not want to be an apologist for the VA. However, day in and day out, these guys see patients who are 350lbs, have diabetes, and heart conditions, who drink like fish, refuse to quit smoking, and continue to main-line gravy in their diets. It’s hard for ANY doctor to get engaged with more of their energy if the outcome is so obvious. Being more proactive cannot hurt. May not always help. But it could. Good luck son.

      • Windguy, very, very good comment and suggestions that can help anyone.

        I agree documenting things certainly help, particularly using Secure Messaging. Its surprising how quickly they will respond to something in writing, but will completely ignore a phone call or voice mail.

        I disagree somewhat with the characterization of the 350lb vet. Yes there are those you describe, but there are many more VA providers that treat all vets the same, even if they are so skinny they need to stand twice in the same spot to make a shadow.

        I guess that’s where good documentation can work to change attitudes.

      • Excellent advice, Windguy. Although I hadn’t thought to recommend it, because of my remoteness from a VAMC facility I have used EBenefits health to communicate with a couple of neurologists. They are now on record responding to my questions.

        I’ll now point out and upload documentation for my claims with questions. I have several items clearly and erroneously noted in C&P examinations that need to be countered.

        I’m now going through a CD of my C&P and Medical files. The questions I had ask were answered. Now I need to ask, referencing a statement on a neurobehavioral test, whether it meets the definition of “subtle anosognosia” similar to one who has been drinking but with more permanence that a 6 pack. Also if an EEG showing “epileptiform spiking” was confirmation enough for a diagnosed “partial seizure” stated as an “altered state of consciousness” causing an MVA and loss of my DL. Sort of nail down the evidence.

      • I’ve sent secure messages since the program started. Nice ones. Professional ones. Short to the point messages. Long medical evidence based arguments for why things aren’t being done properly in my case. Their responses, if any, we’re along this line: MR PETERSON YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN AND KNOW THAT YOUR PCP ISN’T A NEUROSURGEON AND IT’S NOT HER JOB TO REFER YOU TO OR LOOK UP INFORMATION ON NEUROSURGERY. IF YOU CONTINUE TO SEND OFFENSIVE EMAILS YOU WILL BE BARRED FROM USING MyHealthEVet.
        Really!?!?! After I got that email I fucking lost it. Nothing up to point even hinted at me being disgruntled.
        I send back an exact word for word quote (because I recorded the visit)from the the PCP stating she would do everything she could to get me help.
        Then….I tore her up tore the nurse up, and dared them to take me off the rolls for secure messaging.
        (I can still send messages.)
        A month after this incident the VA ‘lost’ all of my secure messages, my MRI results, my CT scans, everything related to my brain injuries and everything that stated my discs were so bad they needed to be fixed immediately. That was almost three years ago.
        Since being back in TX, the PCPs haven’t written down ANYTHING related to my spinal problems except that I complain of chronic pain….AAAAAAAAARGH M.F.
        Look, I used to hunt people. That’s what my job was while deployed. Clear a massive bolo list. And we did. Now I can justify to myself that taking these fucks out would make me happier, but I can’t justify what it’s going to be seen as by everyone else. They’ll probably call me a terrorist. Anyway, I’ve been fighting to get back repaired for 12yrs. I’m 5’3″ 135lbs. No fat…yet. I’ve had one disc replacement surgery at C6/7. That VA surgeon gave me his word that he’d replace the two at L4/5 &L5/S1 six months after the neck surgery. That was five years ago and less than a month after I had the neck surgery, the VA relocated this dr.
        Can’t find him either.
        What I have is a filling cabinet full of documents and cds of images that prove what I’ve been saying is true. What the VA has is money and a horde of lawyers.
        They win. Before I get out of the gate.

  31. Shulkin needs to get his shit together in NC. Trump needs to help him do that.

    The VA in Asheville managed to kill a veteran a week after he retired with 20 years of service by giving him 4 times the amount of Dilaudid twice in 4 hours, then fights his widow in court over a malpractice suit.

    The article says the VA (US Treasury) paid out over a half billion dollars in malpractice claims in 4 years, 2012-2016.

    “http://m.wbtv.com/wbtv/db_330734/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=1b8UzsvZ”

    • @91Veteran – This is an unfortunate and sad article to read. The VA hardly ever wants to admit any wrongdoing. One day the VA is going to set off a Veteran or family member, and I’m concerned about what they may do. Actually, Veteran Jason Powell was prescribed 8 mg of Dilauded in 4 hours. First dose 4mgs, then the second dose of 4 mgs 4 hours later. At most, Mr. Powell should have not received more that 1-2 mgs of Dilauded for 4-6 hours for his pain. And, due to the Dilauded being administered by IV, the amount of 8 mgs. sounds like it was the cause of his death. Even the dumb ass doctor admitted this to his dear wife. Shame on this jerks. The other thing, is that the VA probably jacked up the payout if they didn’t have to admit to any wrongdoings. That makes the VA look real good for the best interest of who . . . the VA!

  32. The very first thing I read in your article on the Veterans Choice Program was that there are two stipulations for veterans to qualify for this program: 1) they have to live outside a 40-mile radius from the nearest VA medical facility, or 2) they would have to had wait for an appointment with the VA for 30 or more days. Now, I don’t live outside a 40-mile radius of any VA medical facility, and I’m not sure how long I would have waited for an appointment with the appropriate VA medical department. I requested an allergy test via the VA Nurses’ Hotline last Friday and Veterans Choice called me this morning to let me know that a provider would be calling me this week to set up an appointment to be seen at a non-VA facility for the test.

    Now, I am just as frustrated with the VA as any other veteran on here. Believe me! From the fact that the VA refused to give me educational benefits because I was “on active duty from 1984 to 1985” (an actual quote from a VA education rep last week), which I still have a $10,000 student loan for (it took the VA NINE MONTHS to deny me those educational benefits, in spite of the fact that I served on active duty for 21 YEARS, and retired with 5 GOOD CONDUCT MEDALS!), to the fact that I sat in a hearing in 2013 with a DAV rep for my VR&E appeal, which determined that their decision to refuse me reinstatement into the VR&E (because, according to them, I had been rehabilitated AND had a job that was related to the degree I had earned under the VR&E) was incorrect and that I had NEVER held a job/position that was even remotely related to my degree, from the fact that that appeal IS STILL IN TGE HANDS OF THE APPEALS BOARD AND NOBODY KNOWS WHY IT HAS TAKEN THIS LONG TO MSKE A DETERMINATION, to the fact that all the CA wants to do is to either medicate whatever ails me, OR cut it out of my body, it has been ONE HUGE LONG LIST of disappointments and incompetency, as it relates to the VA and their staff and their non-care for veterans. My DOG cares more for me than anyone at the Veterans Administration offices.

    The ONLY real care and concern I receive from the VA is from the Golden VA Clinic in Golden, Colorado. ALL the staff members there have been phenomenal to me, and I won’t step foot inside the Denver VA Hospital, even if my LIFE depended on it, because THEIR staff are overworked, underpaid and rarely make me feel even the least bit welcomed.

    • You likely got a Choice referral for your allergy test if your VA clinic cannot perform the test.

      I too do not live 40 miles away, but have been referred to Choice twice now because the VA here in Grand Junction does not have the specialists on staff.

      They have the Choice program where the 40 mile/30 day rule applies, and the Choice First program for referrals for vets who cannot get care at the VA for other reasons such as not having the specialists on staff.

      You will want to get the letter from the VA referring you to Choice, and you will want to get the authorization number from Choice.

      After I called Choice yesterday to find out the status of this latest referral and being told wrongly that the provider doesn’t have the authorization yet, I had a voice mail last night from Choice saying I needed to call them immediately because they now have it scheduled.

      I am truly shocked how fast they are moving compared to the first referral.

      As for allergy tests, I was scheduled for a test in Madison in the 90s. 4 times. Each time they canceled it, so on the 4th time, I took the medicine causing the reaction and went to my next appointment.

      Within an hour the reaction started. When I was done with that second appointment, I went back to the allergy clinic and showed them what the reaction was like.

      They said I had to go to the ER immediately.

      It took several months of appointment cancellations before the VA acknowledged the medicine they were giving me caused allergic reactions. Only because I was able to show them.

  33. Please forgive the misspellings in my previous post. Trying to type on my iPhone can be a real challenge, when there’s a spellchecker involved!

    • @Michael McGrath – – – Were you by any chance stationed aboard the USS England (CG 22) during the years you cited your previous post. Our EMO (Electronics Maintenance Officer) had the same name. Middle Initial was A.

      If so, one of your favorite CIC people says Hello.

  34. I have to drive 3 hours one was to the nearest VA hospital. And get told they cannot operate because no doctor there will do it. The pay is to low. My private doctor has been waiting one and a half years for a password. So I have to drive to the VA to doctor appointments so I can keep getting my pain meds. I need to be able to make my own appointments, not wait 2 weeks for someone to call me and ask if I still want to make a appointment.

  35. First, we should all be aware, Choice is nothing new! I was referred outside the VA Medical Center as far back as 1996 in Fayetteville NC when the va did not have a doctor to take care of sinus problems. Back then they would give you a card allowing x number of appointments outside the system usually 3-4 visits. Today they issue all veterans who use the VA system, a Choice card, then tell you that you cannot use it without specific authority, or permission. In Temple Texas they have someone from the Choice program call the veteran and tell them exactly where they can go. I waited over a year for a sleep apnea study, and finally gave up when they tried to send me 50 or 60 miles away from my home for the study. It took them over 6 months to get respiratory rehabilitation because their is only one hospital that offers the program and that is 35 miles from my home. I went to the program for 3 weeks and decided it was a waste of time, because if I was capable of exercising I would use the Gym at Fort Hood 10 minutes from my home. And then when it was said and done, medicare was billed for the services, when the choice program was suppose to pay the tab. That was another 3-4 months cleaning up that mess. In my opinion the program sucks. First, not all private providers will accept it, and those that do as in my case were 50-60 miles from my home, making it not worth the trouble. And in some instances I was not even able to get any treatment because it was not offered within 60 miles. For the program to work they need to lift all the restrictions, and convince the private authorities to accept it as payment. But as long as they only pay Medicare rates, providers will turn it down.

    • I agree about Choice not being new except the “delay and mileage” aspect and requiring the VAMC to use their option instead of delaying and denying treatment.

      Sheridan WY used contract physicians in Gillette for Vets living in Gillette and a neurologist for all referrals for that specialty. Even a local pharmacy in Gillette.

      Cheyenne VAMC just denied service as unavailable hoping you would drive to Denver. Sheridan could have done the same thing hoping you would drive a shorter distance to Billings.

  36. Oh, while were talking about access to care. I for one am tired of going to my local va for care only to find out I can’t understand the doctor because his or her accent is so thick. Just recently I had a sleep apnea c/p the doctor was from Burma yes I said Burma. The doctors name was Tin Tin Wai and I could not understand a word she said. This is just one example of the doctors being hired from the va . There seems to be a large influx of Dr.’s from India, Pakistan, Burma , Mexico, Korea and while they all speak English, they speak with such accents that it is really hard for me to understand them.. I assume most American born doctors won’t work for the VA due to patient over loads and low pay.

  37. This would be a godsend. Currently, I have an eye infection, or something mysterious that acts like an eye infection. To be treated for this, I must:
    1. go to primary care provider at VA
    2. be referred to the specialist (ophthamologist), which will take a few days
    3. Specialist office will call me, then schedule an appointment 2 weeks to a month out because they are “busy”

    So, to be seen for this thing, I have to wait 2 weeks to a month. So, what do I do in terms of work and showing up everyday with red and swollen eyes? I could take a few sick days, but that gets old fast and then people will start asking questions. It doesn’t look good. So what I felt I had to do instead was make a private “civilian” doctor appointment anyway, because this thing needs to be resolved fast. Perfect example of how this Choice program might really make a difference if done right.

  38. Look, y’all asked.
    1. I have a perpetual headache that morphs into migraines light depending.
    2. My face is asleep (pins/needles/electrical fire
    3. I have 11 herniated or flat vertebral discs
    4. Every breath is painful. Lightning shoots around my ribcage from spine to sternum and sometimes causes my heart to spasm and then pound…hard
    5. If I step heavy/try to run/jump/carry more than 15lbs my legs shut off and I eat the floor. It’s really cool when I navigate stairs.
    6. My left hand thumb is almost useless from the VA taking months to(they only did something after I lost 30lbs of muscle on my only my left upper half) do ANYTHING about the disc in my neck crushing a nerve root.
    7. Y’all know what comes with trauma to low back so writting it out isn’t happening.
    8. There is a constant electrical fire blazing through my limbs starting at my spine.
    All this since 2005.
    Anything else? Should I talk nice and smile while the dr’s get their biggest barbed devices and “run’m home” dry?
    No One Helps.
    No one gives a shit because they can’t feel it.
    There was a saying I hear while working with some construction guys that made me think. They said: “can’t see it from my house”
    It’s what dr’s do now. Tell themselves “I don’t feel a thing” and pass you some pills or tell you to work out. Motherfucker!do I look like I dont? You’re telling me this you fat bastard?

    Okay, now who wants coffee?

    • @Peterson, L.H.: Your exactly right, I use to say “what? just because I don’t have a spear through my head, and can’t turn around in a closet, you think I am making all this shit up?” Like you, I wish they could feel for just 15 minutes what you feel, that would change their tune real quick. But because you don’t have a 20 ft piece of rebar sticking out of your chest you MUST be okay. Their logic defies logic……….know what I mean? Just had two days of that lighning round through the damn chest. They will never know what it is like until it happens to them. I worked with a guy in construction, and he could never understand the pain, then I see him one day haunched over a roll around table on the loading doc. He could barely breath. I asked what happened, he says he lifted a piece of steel and did something to his back. It was at that moment he had a small glimpse of what kind of pain you get from a fucked up back. He never commented on my back ever again. Maybe the answer is we go to the va with a bat and give em all a good lower and upper back whacking. Then we can tell them “hey no big deal, here is a fucking list of excercises you can do. Oh do you have a pool at home?” I love that question, yeah I have a pool, right next to putting green, and tennis court. If a neurosugeon can help you then damnit, that is what you should get. Everytime i hear the strory of another veteran and what they are forced to deal with, I wanna go postal. Cowtow to Iran and give them funding to kill our own guys, that is better than helping already injured veterans…………sickening. Thank you for explaining your situation. People around the country need to hear this shit, so they know what the helll is going on.

      • I may be a bit skeptical and definitely not able to comprehend how these posts are doing anything for me. It’s public, online. Any person or agency with a grudge can pull what I write and use it for whatever. But, ultimately, the content just sits here right. Sits on this page waiting for just the right “give-a-shit” to read it.
        I won’t hold my breath.
        I’ve been to WALTER-REED, I’ve been fighting with Congressmen(their aids) to get assistance, I’ve spoken with VA hospital Administrators. I get the shut out with “its not that bad based on this two year old still photo of your spine while every bit of pressure is removed before it was take…or like congress: we regret to inform you that we cannot help you and no more correspondence will be answered…or my favorite, you should try exercises. M.F. the more I twist/turn/pressure my body, the FASTER MY DISCS GET DESTROYED!
        I asked a few neurosurgeons: what happens when the jelly from the center of the vertebral discs comes into contact with a nerve root? What happens the longer it’s there?
        Their responses were the same, textbook: when the core of a disc comes into contact with a nerve root, it immediately begins “burning” the sheath off of the nerve causing inflammation. The longer it has contact the more Permanent the damage is. When the sheath is degraded the nerve becomes extremely damaged fast.
        Then I said: so why not fix the damaged area as soon as possible? Why would you look at this MRI see the same thing you just told me was REALLY bad, then tell me I should eat pills? Every fucking one of the surgeons looked at me blankly, got up and left the room. Not one returned. One time a nurse came back into the room after 45 min with another patient in tow and got pissed because I was still there. I was never told the visit was done! These hospitals are for profit. They are only there to keep your money in their pockets. I guarantee you that if these shit heads only got paid if you Stayed Healthy, there wouldn’t be ONE ill person Anywere!
        I can’t get help myself. When I talk or type about this shit now, I get so pissed I can’t do anything to calm down except try to walk up the stairs…hoping to fall down hard. Most of the time, it happens. Then, when I can’t move, I think…why the fuck is your dumb ass laying on the floor? There ain’t no one to shoot down there son. Get the fuck up.

      • @Peterson, L.H.: No mater what I tell you, I know that you already know it, and have lived through it. It is crminal in my mind if it is something they can fix but refuse to do so. I have said this a few times, and I realize some people here just aren’t eligble. but, have you ever applied for ssdi? Are you eligible to do so? If not, I would be terrified to have the same people, that have proven they don’t give a shit. work on my spine. If you are eligible, then as fast as possible apply. You will sail through with flying colors. Since you have been disabled for at least 2 years, you would automatically covered by medicare. With that, you can now go to the finest surgeons in the country. That is the only thing I have going for me. I would never let the va operate on my spine. I hope you are eligible, it would also give you another monthly income. Yeah I just love the excersice part. Hell contact the social security office and ask if your eligible for anything.

  39. I will not try a new medicine from the VA do to the chance or great chance do to my acceptance of the Meds they give to me ,,, that I have only two choices one to die getting to the nearest VA,,, or lose my house and all that I have gain in the last few years to to go to a private hospital to save my life from a reaction of a drug that they gave me,,, even though Choice is available for me ,,, does not save me from these problems,,, so all I can do is bite the bullet and live as I have with no meds,, and pray,,, and sometimes create a adrenaline rush to keep me alive,,,,, I can’t understand this problem of this crap us disabled Vets have to deal with,,,, but hell America treated me the same way when I got home from a forgoton war called Viet Naum,,,, yep many have to die before maybe a change is made,,,, and its not in a war ,,,,, If I was a illegal or Moslum,,,, no problem,,,

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