Shocking Veterans Choice Farce Exposed By Dying Veteran On TV

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Benjamin KrauseKARE 11 investigative reporter AJ Lagoe helped dying veteran Paul Walker expose the Veterans Choice farce that provides many with no choice at all. Coverage aired on Minneapolis’ NBC last night, and what reporter AJ Lagoe uncovered will shock many Americans.

Disabled veteran Paul Walker just came face to face with that brutal reality of no choice after learning he was dying of state 4 liver cancer. VA failed to provide timely assessment of Walker’s condition and went on to deny life saving surgery after telling him he had 3-6 months to live. If limited to VA health care, Paul Walker will be dead in 3-6 months.

The video above provides a great overview of the problem. For more information and the background of this specific investigation, read on.

KARE 11 VETERANS CHOICE INVESTIGATION BACKGROUND

To give some background, I am Paul Walker’s attorney and am helping him help other veterans fight for access to health care by exposing this farce of a program called Veterans Choice. I generally represent veterans related to health care problems including lack of access to non-VA health care nationwide. A big part of my practice relates to this issue and helping veterans access non-VA health care even through non-VA channels such as through state funded programs.

In my presence at Minneapolis VA, Walker called Veterans Choice to see what options he may have for non-VA care. Previous to the call, I escorted Walker through Minneapolis VA to observe how VA staff treated him in person because of concerns he expressed about VA staff being adversarial toward him. Overall, most staff members that day were initially adversarial but later backed off once Walker explained he was dying of stage 4 cancer.

I find that veteran treatment is sometimes dependent on the kinds of clothes the veteran is wearing and grooming. That day, Walker looked similar to how he looked in the KARE 11 video.

On the phone with a VA operator, Walker explained his situation and why he wanted Veterans Choice, ie non-VA care. Unfortunately, he was denied at the time despite living more than 40 miles from his primary care center.

Instead, the VA operator informed Walker that since he lived 16 miles from a VA dental clinic, that he was not eligible for non-VA care. When Walker asked for a letter documenting his denial, VA refused to provide written documentation.

Walker immediately reached out to KARE 11 News to investigate. Investigative reporter AJ Lagoe was quick to contact Walker and me. He offered to help us expose the very real lack of choice Walker faced in getting treatment for his deadly cancer.

Nationally, VA has recently claimed veterans refuse to use the Veterans Choice program because they love VA health care versus non-VA health care. Their argument continues that since so few veterans choose to use the program that the funds should be diverted to other parts of VA.

This claim is most certainly a public relations spin on reality to manipulate the public into believing veterans only want VA health care. Do you think most veterans truly want only VA health care?

RELATED: VA plots to gut Veterans Choice Program

A couple weeks after we contacted the press and with KARE 11 in the room, Walker again contacted Veterans Choice with a slightly different scenario. By that time, his condition was fully diagnosed, VA prescribed him heavy painkillers that prevented him from driving, and he was informed of his death sentence of 3-6 months to live. Still, VA refused to allow him to seek non-VA care in his community despite his inability to drive and being near death.

Walker wanted to show KARE 11 what happened when he tried using the Choice Card Veterans Affairs sent him, so he called the number on his card while Investigative Reporter A.J. Lagoe watched. “I want to see about getting preauthorization to get cancer treatment at a facility closer to me,” Walker told the operator. But he was told he was not eligible under the 40 mile rule because the Northwest Metro VA Clinic in Ramsey is only 20 miles from his home. The frustrated veteran told the woman handling his Choice Card call that the Ramsey clinic does not offer the cancer treatment he needs. “All they do is dental work there and eye work and some basic kinds of different minor things,” he told her. “But I have cancer stage 4.” Paul’s reasoning that the clinic near him doesn’t offer the treatment he needs got him nowhere. “I don’t get a choice. I get to die. So, to me that’s not a choice,” he said.

KARE 11 News inquired about veterans’ stories across the country, and I had the displeasure of explaining that Paul Walker was not alone in being refused Veterans Choice.

“I’ve been hearing this across the country,” said Benjamin Krause, a disabled vet and Twin Cities-based attorney focusing on veterans’ issues. Krause is representing Paul Walker and had harsh words for the choice program.

“The supposed VA choice is nothing more than a bill of goods that they sold us,” he said.

Krause points to the fact the VA is now claiming that since so few veterans are using the Choice Card program, the billions of dollars sitting there to fund Veterans Choice could be better spent.

“Now they’re trying to justify the fact veterans are not using this choice, which is really no choice at all, as a means to defund the program and move the money elsewhere,” said Krause.

Reporter AJ Lagoe requested feedback from VA through a FOIA to see how many veterans have been allowed to use Veterans Choice and how many veterans have been turned down. It may come as no surprise that VA does not count veterans turned down for the program using incredibly squirrely logic:

“No veteran is turned down. They either meet the criteria which is >40 miles from a VA facility or >30 days for an appointment, or they do not.”

RELATED: See VA FOIA response on Veterans Choice

How have you been affected by Veterans Choice? Did you get a choice? Do you think VA needs to change its 40-mile criteria?

Source: http://www.kare11.com/media/cinematic/video/24744681/kare-investigates-mn-veterans-denied/

http://www.kare11.com/longform/news/investigations/2015/03/10/mn-veterans-denied-new-medical-choice-program/24712177/

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57 COMMENTS

  1. This “Choice Card Farce” actually exposes how totally unorganized the VA System is if they cannot compile a database that actually shows what Specialist/Services are even at their VAMC’s and to also include that knowledge to apply to ALL of these tiny “satellite VAMC’s” that they choose to draw the 40 mile line “AS A CROW FLIES”…because I recently read on this site where a Veteran in Colorado lives in an area where there’s no such thing as “square mile” and they have to traverse many extra curvy roads to get anywhere, making that actual mileage TWICE or MORE than when the VA simply draws a straight line from point A to B.
    I wish this story would have expounded on that technicality as well because it’s ALL “squirrely VA math” they are utilizing to justify their denials. Am really glad this story is being put out there and really pray he gets access to the very care that could even save his life…like removing the damn tumor. Nobody with ANY ounce of empathy and compassion would even treat their dog or cat, let alone fellow Veterans this way.
    Also, it’s very true in most cases, how people treat you depending on how one’s dressed and appearance…but anyone with a bit of knowledge, let alone a Doctorate, that we are not going to the VAMC’s for a DAY AT DISNEY!!! No, like Paul, we have many different disabling chronic conditions. Whether it’s PTSD or PAIN or BOTH or a lot more…it is textbook knowledge that depersonalization is something that happens more times than not when we not only face our daily physical/mental challenges, but we ALSO have the inherent stressor of dealing with these asses at the VAMC’s & RO’s through caustic claim process.
    That’s also called discriminative profiling, which creates such a stereotypical bias that you have already been judged by the sociopaths that work for the VA.
    Good job covering this story Ben. Let’s all keep this alive…and more Veteran’s alive.

  2. DeJa-Vu & for Decades now: Rising Costs {mostly borrowed} of Caring for Veterans

    **VA Chief Warns of Rising Cost of Caring for Younger Veterans**

    The people served actually think that when legislation is passed, poser patriotic enhancing political points for their reps and themselves, it’s actually paid for! As to our wars and the long term results after, policy blowback, for the Veterans of, well not since WWII have the people served actually Sacrificed, mostly willingly and across the Nation including veterans depending on political ideologies, thus not building and maintaining, and thus saving in many ways because of, the Responsibility they hold to those very few that served them! Why in these modern times they don’t even pay for their flag waving, poser, patriotic wars and think nothing of it, while speaking full support, and who’s more patriotic to country, of the few that served, blame the next elected Executive branch leader especially if of opposite political party or if same just ignore!

    ** … two instigated wars whose costs were so inhibitive they were kept off the books, … The Obama Administration brought this into the open …**

    **”as well as two ongoing foreign wars, which his predecessor never even tried to pay for. Of course the president is running large deficits; trying to eliminate them now would make an economic catastrophe even worse.”**

    Neither OEF/OIF and the continuing blowback from the policies implemented and supported are yet to be paid for!!

    “Why in 2009 were we still using paper?” VA Assistant Secretary Tommy Sowers “When we came in, there was no plan to change that; we’ve been operating on a six month wait for over a decade.” 27 March 2013

    Facts: Matthew Hoh {former Marine and foreign service officer in Afghanistan}: “We spend a trillion dollars a year on national security in this country.”
    “And when you add up to the Department of Defense, Department of State, CIA, Veterans Affairs, interest on debt, the number that strikes me the most about how much we’re committed financially to these wars and to our current policies is we have spent $250 billion already just on interest payments on the debt we’ve incurred for the Iraq and Afghan wars.” 26 September 2014

    Bob Herbert “Losing Our Way” : “And then the staggering costs of these wars, which are borne by the taxpayers. I mean, one of the things that was insane was that, as we’re at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration cut taxes. This has never been done in American history. The idea of cutting taxes while you’re going to war is just crazy. I mean, it’s madness.” Bill ‘Moyers and Company’: Restoring an America That Has Lost its Way 10 Oct. 2014

    $14 Million An Hour: War Costs Top $1.6 Trillion Since 9/11, Say Congressional Researchers

    “With no shared sacrifices being asked of civilians after Sept. 11″

    And what else do those served get away with, through the representatives they hire, to avoid their Responsibility? Why they choose the easy ways out, just like they do in arguing their, poser, patriotism,, they either just totally ignore the Veterans during and after on an ever growing list of issues or they follow the written and spoken so called experts, usually politically motivated while getting comfortable return in wealth from the ‘denial these issues even exist’ [google Sally satel] and those links are just one conservative ‘expert’ and just about PTS. The homefront battles continue for Agent Orange, Gulf War Syndrome, OEF/OIF Burn Pits and oh so many more reaching back to surviving WWII Veterans right up to today. Many were Finally being addressed when Gen Shinseki came onboard, with the still extremely limited budget funding, and with extended help by the Executive administration and it’s Cabinet where their charges could be integrated on long standing Veterans issues, that continues under Sec. McDonald but so does the Congressional obstructions and attacks, even from those served, as it continues causing costly problems that create other costly problems. Those problems are extremely helpful for political enhancing points of the people served representatives and given eager media backing as new{?} ‘scandals’ that have been seen before over and over and not corrected after, attack, hearings on!

    Speaking of the politics and those served support of same but ignoring so they don’t have to Sacrifice:

    ProPublica and The Seattle Times Nov. 9, 2012 – * Lost to History: Missing War Records Complicate Benefit Claims by Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans *
    While under both bushes:
    “DeLara’s case is part of a much larger problem that has plagued the U.S. military since the 1990 Gulf War: a failure to create and maintain the types of field records that have documented American conflicts since the Revolutionary War.”

    Part Two: * A Son Lost in Iraq, but Where Is the Casualty Report? *

    * Army Says War Records Gap Is Real, Launches Recovery Effort *

    Chris Hayes: “If you can run a deficit to go to war, you can run a deficit to take care of the people who fought it” In response to Republican, long ago lost as the party of Lincoln and not just as to us Veterans, opposition to expanding Veterans’ benefits on fiscal grounds

    USN All Shore ’67-’71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country ’70-’71 – Independent**

  3. Just another SCHEME to wrest the taxpayers’ $$$$$ from the hands of the DESERVING into the hands of the GREEDY.

  4. I am glad that Ben is representing this vet. He has a better chance with Ben. I still fond it hard to believe that the VA is continuing to act in this manner. No, not really. I am finding it more disturbing that with all the news media, the vets, and other people bringing things like this out for the public to see, that the VA still thinks it can do this and does not care one bit about the repercussions. Any other company private, or public would have been in so much trouble that the business would have most likely been shut down. The VA continues to go on as if nothing has happened, nothing will happen, and we are above the law. What will be the final thing that happens to make the VA change? We have had vets die, commit suicide, be treated as second class citizens, get so fed up with the VA they just leave, and so much more. and yet they get a slap on the wrist. I, unfortunately do not see any change to ever happen. the VA sees no need to change as they have been getting by with this type of thing for so many years.

  5. Based on this story, I don’t see much evidence of any significant cultural change in the VA. It seems to reflect business as usual. The VA has always had authority to send veterans to non-VA providers if the needed services were beyond the capacity or capability of the VA to provide. They seem to have been using this authority very sparingly, which resulted in the long waiting lists with some veterans dying before being seen at a VA facility. It boils down to whether the VA wants to work with the veteran or against the veteran. Does the VA want to help the veteran? Doesn’t the VA have a duty to assist? Shouldn’t the VA be guided by what is in the best interest of the veteran? If the law did not actually enhance the authority that the VA already had, then what was the point of the law?

  6. The management and administration of the NO Choice Card must be removed from the VA or the program will fail. The VA is sabotaging the program so that it will not be successful.

    The VA wants to keep the money for bonus and other perks for their use.

    I live 90+ miles from a VAMC. The VA says I am 50 miles away; and I was denied use of the NO Choice Card.

    • WGM The Choice Card is Administered by a Third Party Administrator…. NOT the VA. Approval is granted or denied based on their guidelines NOT VA’s.

    • The VA has been mailing these out for years now. I have received this request for information three times. The VA already has most of this information anyway. Trash it.

    • This program is not something veterans should participate in. When I was at my clinic last week, after I checked in, it asked me if I wanted to participate in this research program. I went home and pulled up the web site explaining what the MVP program was about and what it entailed. Here’s what I learned that is not publicized and which you would never know if you didn’t read the fine print. One of the things you agree to do is let them draw blood that will be used for DNA mapping and looking for markers that might say you are likely to get some disease, or have some defect that could prove deleterious to your future health. Guess what? You have no right to this information and no right to ask for it. The VA claims that there is some set of rules that forbids this. Here’s what it says on the MVP web site:

      “It will not be possible to give participants results of the blood tests. Due to regulations under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), we are legally unable to return research results to participants. Results from the blood tests will not be placed in participants’ electronic health record. Participants should discuss any health concerns with their doctor or other health care provider, who can arrange any necessary and appropriate tests.”

      How the hell can you “discuss any health concerns with [your] doctor” when you are not allowed to know what the testing revealed and your doctor does not have access to this data? When I did a search of the CLIA site, I could not find the part where they say that people cannot have the results of their DNA mapping, or an explanation as to why this occurs. My advice–do not participate in the MVP unless,a and until, the VA agrees to provide the results to participants.

      • Before a medical research grant is provided, and I assume this is what MVP is, medical research, the proposal has to go through several layers of review. Some reviews are rather sloppy depending on who does that review and where the money is coming from. If a proposal is from a university, that proposal likely would go through the university’s Institutional Review Board. Same with the VA. The proposal should go through their IRB. When a thorough review is made, they look at things like Informed Consent, which even the VA is required to provide. This looks to me like it fails to provide veterans Informed Consent.,.or the review was sloppy and overlooked it. The third option is the researcher used weasel words to pass the review.

  7. If you live near (let’s say) an interstate highway from point A to point B, one has the advantage to get to the health care provider in approx.40 minutes. If someone else lives the same road miles distance of curvy roads, the travel time could result of 40 miles could take another 15 minutes = 55 minutes. I have diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and aneurysms, not to include secondary illnesses. My private primary doctor and my heart doctor are just minutes away in the same building; connected by a second floor walkway to St. Joseph Hospital. Of my immediate health care, I gave copy of The (so-called) Veterans Choice Card to both of my doctors to see what they can resolve: Yes, of the same building, of my doctors offices , The VA has an outreach clinic. However, the VA doctor admitted that for my health care, my doctors have more expertise than HE. I live 42 miles from the Bath VA Bath New York Hospital. The VA itself cannot handle the health care by itself disparages, delays, and/or denies claims and health, for the profiting of merciless mercenaries getting year to year incentive pay, year to year other bonuses, and/or promotions, in the name of to save The Department of Veterans Affairs money; yet, at the expense of suffering Veterans. Be sure to read: DVA January 2010 Compensation & Pension Bulletin Policy (211) Information on Vietnam Naval Operations…provides presumption of exposure to herbicides …to the crew of ships that operated “rivers” and “deltas… although, perhaps, not on it’s ships list: For example, the history of the USS Newport News CA-148 includes operations in the Vinh Binh Province in the Mekong “DELTA” December 1968. And, the June 2010 Compensation & Pension Bulletin Policy (211) ADDITIONAL Information on Vietnam Naval Operations… ships list…Received by The Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, lists the USS Newport News for operations of: Cua Viet “RIVER” April 1969. Yet, as late as December 2013, the Buffalo DVA denied my claims for compensation and health care. The Buffalo DVA claimed that of government resources to include their own intranet, the Buffalo DVA claimed it could not find my service in Vietnam exposed to herbicides (agent orange, etc.). Yet, the Buffalo DVA also should have read my DD-214: It includes that I have the Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars; The Vietnam Campaign Medal (at least 6 months at least contiguous to S. Vietnam); and, the Combat Action Ribbon. The Buffalo DVA failed to rate my aneurysms: one upper large artery, one lower large artery. Of my ischemic heart disease, the Buffalo DVA made my erectile dysfunction seem only secondary to my Diabetes Type II; my erectile dysfunction and to lack of feeling well can be traced to prescriptions of 1994.. The Buffalo DVA apparently did not read (were not instructed by) the Nehmer Training March 2010 Training Class information: the secondary illnesses of ischemic heart disease (to include low blood flow) is anxiety, depression, weakness of legs, and impotence / erectile dysfunction. The Buffalo DVA Examiner’s examination April 2014, to include my Medical Records, of the Buffalo DVA June 05, 2014 Decision, The Buffalo DVA examiner diagnosed my Ischemic heart disease to as early as 2000. According to the Nehmer Court Order, the Nehmer Training Guide (211A) February 2011 Revised, The Buffalo DVA had to make compensation within 21 days following eligibility requirements were met. The Nehmer Court Order states: The claimant need not file a new claim or a claim for earlier effective date when new presumptive condition is added. VA must search it’s records to find eligible claimants and award benefits, without action on the claimant’s part. Medical Records noting the existence of a condition later made presumptively service-connected can in some instances’ result in an award without a formal claim ever being made. Yet, of 3 certified letters to DVA – Compensation & Pension Service (211A), Attn: Nehmer Working Group Washington DC 20420, my claim / appeal was sent to the Board of Veterans Appeal Board, backlogged to 2012. The Nehmer Court Order provides priority for Nehmer claims. However, I was told by Board of Veterans Appeal docket, my claim is not listed as a Nehmer claim. And, to get it docketed as Nehmer, I (hence, the claimant) must write a letter. Yet, my appeal on Board of Veterans Appeal Form 9 is to have my claim processed by the Nehmer Court Order: The Nehmer Training Guide Feb. 2011 Revised. Yet, the Nehmer Court Order states: VA compensates class counsel for all of it’s work on Nehmer claims. Therefore, I think it is very fair that The Department of Veterans Affairs get sanctioned to pay I : $3500 a month back to July 3, 1969, when I was released from active-duty, for compensation to include incubation periods of all my sufferings (See Congressional Research Services / Statutory Presumptions by law clerk Nichols October, 2010).
    Please read Compensation & Pension Bulletins Policy (211); Congressional Research Services/ Statutory Presumptions; and, The Nehmer Court Order: The Nehmer Training Guide (211A) February 2011 Revised. Also, need a lawyer, The Nehmer Court Order states: VA compensates class counsel for all of it’s work on Nehmer claim: Now, some of you know where to complain. Good luck from [email protected]

  8. Va obviously sucks, and still is getting worse!! What do we do about it?? Us vets are being ignored, neglected, and abused. It’s high time for organized peaceful protest. Let’s do what comes natural to us vets, let’s march down main street! Not in step of course, LOL. Ben you have the ability to organize such a demonstration. Please, we need you!

  9. I got the same run around by the VA . We have a clinic in Oxford ,Alabama that just offers lab and shots and Doctors to prescribe medications. There is a major VA hospital in Birmingham, Al more than 40 miles even as the crow flies and many times over a 30 day wait period. Our U.S. Rep Mike Rogers and U.S. Senators Shelby and Sessions are fully aware of this situation but spend their time writing letters to inform Iranian leadership how our Constitution works when they ought to spend more time enforcing it here at home.

  10. The choice card law was written by congress which VA is forced to abide by. The language “any VA facility” and the 40 mile rule were written into the bill by your Congressional Representatives. I’d be less concerned about this veterans inability to use his choice card and more concerned about why the VAMC did not use fee basis care for the veterans cancer treatment. That is controlled by the VA, the rules regarding eligibility for the choice card program is not.

  11. I wish they would have picked a different Veteran for this story. It is obvious by the empty Marlburo packs all over the floor and ashtrays filled with cigarette butts that he is a chain smoker. The Cancer is from the cigarettes/smoking.

    • We were only given a very brief “snapshot” of a moment in that Veteran’s life, so I would not be so quick to pass -on judge and jury judgment calls that his cancer is entirely or even at all his fault.
      For instance:
      Have you thought about the scenario that this Veteran and many others developed (cancer in this case) from being exposed to toxic chemicals while NEVER being a smoker, yet as the cancer metathesized and stress dealing with the VA’s indifference and outright negligence, THEN the Veteran started to smoke?!
      Just saying, do not be so quick to judge because you of course, are NOT walking in his boots.
      Another example: Just one of the many USAF Bases I was stationed, this one for few months shy of 6 years, upon President Clinton taking office that Base was closed and IMEDIATELY PLACED ON THE EPA SUPER FUND CLEAN-UP SITE…IN TH TOP 5 IN NATION. The rain water would bubble on the ground in the massive weapons storage area, if the ground was wet we were not supposed to be ON the ground during war games and Official Alerts…but we were certainly ORDERED to do so…and that USAF Base is STILL being cleaned-up to this day.
      The many “lucky” Veterans that have been developing neurological conditions as well as MANY different malignancies and cancers that worked around what we did there, should any of us through stressors decide to take-up drinking or even smoking out of direct stress of dealing with VERY similar impasses and ignorance by the VA, is it more reasonable to simply make a statement as you did and ASSUME that was a bad choice of a sick Veteran to represent our plight because YOU assume it’s his smoking that incurred the health issue, not the time serving USA? The VA thinks this way in order to deny service and claims a times…many times.
      Would you be happier if said Veteran took up illegal drugs instead, to cope with the VA’s incompetence?
      Did you ever even try to think outside the box and consider for a moment before posting that, that the ashtray and empty cig packs could be from perhaps a now passed spouse and it’s simply a way of leaving it, as to somehow keep him/her around or even a relative that perhaps comes over or a neighbor that happens to smoke?
      Or is it simply a matter of YOU wanting things to look all “pretty and tidy”? Chronic health issues do not have a “pretty and tidy” face. Perhaps that Veteran MADE YOU feel uncomfortable so that’s why you felt the callous need to project his plight as if he was entirely responsible for his situation, thus deserving??!
      Please do not be so quick to judge…remember, THAT could be ANY ONE of US!

      When one utilizes word ‘ASSUME’, they quite often make an ASS before U and ME=ASSUME.

      (it would be wrong of me to ASSUME you work for the very VA and posting that comment to try to blow a hole in any momentum in his case, wouldn’t it?)

    • So he deserves to be treated like sh*t and die because you disagree with what he may or may not do? How about we cut off other health care based on poor choices as determined by who? You? If someone determines you are 20lbs overweight, health care should be cut off? If you ate red meat, you are done with medical care? How about that HIV positive medic? Should we cut off their care because we all KNOW how HIV is contracted?
      FFS this used to be a free country until little fascists thought they should decide what is best for everyone else.
      That attitude is becoming more ingrained in people taking up space at a VA. Oh, you smoked 25 years ago? Your lung problems are automatically due to that regardless of any other exposures so leave my office and die!
      Hmmm. You don’t look disabled? How many times have vets heard that BS?
      By the way, I don’t smoke.

      • ^91Veteran–

        Thanks for the many great points you made there! I do not smoke either, but that person’s post made my brain smolder a bit…I would not put it past the VA to have people post on advocacy sites, especially very effect ones such as this one, and try to stir people up.
        Kind of very much way that West Point instructor that posted on here not long ago in a very narcissistic way…Lt. Col. Gade I believe is his name.

        Then again, it’s unfortunate that someone would have such lack of empathy nor compassion…but…wait…that WOULD be a VA employee…silly me.

        Anyway, 91Veteran, you further touched points I wished to and more eloquently.

  12. In a ct test back in November they found nodules in my lungs. One ofy best friends died from lung cancer last year due to a 6 month wait for a second set of tests. By the time his second set of tests he was declared terminal and died six months later so I requested my second set of tests be set at the 3 month mark and my primary care agreed. I received notice of an upcoming MRI shortly after and believed it was for this issue as the timing was at the 3 month timeframe. Fast forward to the appointment date only to find out the MRI was for another issue that I am dealing with and the lung test is not for 2 more months. When I notify my primary care I’m told that it would not be possible to move my appointment closer due to a backlog in radiology ( they are now scheduling for august, it is the 11th of march now) and that to get approval and an appointment outside the via would take longer than the 2 months I still have to wait. The notification of appointments that we receive should say what the appointments are for and who ordered them. Given that information would have allowed me to address this issue months ago when there would have been time to make other arrangements. Now as it stands, if I become a victim of this delay I can only advise my family to litigate to the fullest extent of the law and warn other vets to not accept any delay in their treatment

    • Request to speak to the patient advocate and ask them if the MRI can be fee based so you receive it quicker. If they still refuse, tell them you want to file a clinical appeal.

  13. What choice? I have the card and on Jan 6, 2015 I sent a request to my PCP (through MyHealtheVet) for a neurological appointment for neuropathy testing. Two weeks later his nurse asked me why? I explained why. On March 2, 2015 I had an appt with my PCP and his nurse told me he would see if he could get an appointment with the neuro. dept at the Las Vegas VA hosp and if the appt didn’t meet the 30 day standard he would give me a letter of permission to use the Choice Card.

    I sent a message just a few minutes ago (noon PST Mar 11,2015) stating that it had been 60+ days since my initial request and could I get the letter of permission. We’ll see.

  14. I am having the same problem with the Choice program. Thought I was the only one. Thought it must be something I was doing wrong. As it turns out it is the VA that is, yet again, screwing the veterans! Big surprise.

  15. This is just a smoke screen to help the FUBAR VA Medical System on their declining every move a veteran makes to seek “qualified health care”, the veteran seeking out side care has to have the VA agree to what ever it is the private doctor suggest! It isn’t going to work and I heard that if your on Medicare there is a better chance…of course, again you have to have what ever the private doctor suggest has to be approved by the VA. The VA in Martinez, California and the VARO in Oakland, California should fire every person and hire educated doctor’s and administrators that can show compassion and genuine concern and not the constant belittle and non professional attitudes that permeate this sick system. We already paid for this benefit that we get denied by those Home Depot hires to process veterans claims. FTVA!

  16. I’ve never had to use the VA for a cancer issue but I can certainly tell you how long a full diagnosis takes in private care. An immediate family member had an appointment at the cancer clinic after suspect lab work. I went along to their first appointment. That same day of the first appointment the cancer clinic performed a bone marrow biopsy and the full results were obtained within 14 days.

    I can’t imagine anybody having to wait 6 months to get results or follow-up appointments when it comes to cancer. God bless the poor souls who have to suffer at virtual ignorance of the VA system.

    • My husband was going to the Manchester, NH VA for 4+ years for pain that kept getting worse. He made himself a cane and was doing as few of his pain pills as possible. The VA took an x-ray the end of March 2014. No results..kept calling and kept getting the same answer, no results. Finally April11, they had him come in as they where sick of my phone calls about the pain my husband was in. The gave him a steroid shot, still did not have results of his x-ray but assured it was not cancer. within 2 days he could not lift his leg, he had no appetite and was looking sicker. I kept calling the VA, they said put ice on the injection site. tried that. called them back, no answer, told them he was still running high fevers of over 104 off and on with shivers every night, before the injection and after. For over a year. I had to call 911 on April 28, 2014, they took him to a non va hospital and within an hour took the same x-ray that the VA took March 20 and gave him the steroid injection April 11. My husband and I where told after being at the non VA hospital he had 2 weeks to live. My husband told me to make sure I did something to the VA for killing him. I am now, it took me a year, but have a good attornery who is going to find out why they shot him up with steroids when he was full of cancer. I have gone through all the stages of grief and have started over again with them. I wanted to die, they almost killed me as I was so depressed. I still am but am living to get my husband the justice he deserves and hope this stops happening to our veterans. I loved my husband more than any man I had known. He was my caregiver and took care of me. I am still lost without him and hope the lawyers get my husband the justice he so rightly deserved. I would gladly give every dime to have my husband back, I would be happy to have him back for a week to have been prepared for his death..I could nothing but hold him and pray and tell him I love him. He told me he loved me and to make sure the VA pays for ruining our life as he had retired and we where going to start enjoying our years together. I was widow at 58 and still spend many nights crying and can not sleep in our bed that he bought us in Feb. I love him and always will love him and I hate the doctors that he trusted and we believed in and they did not read his films correctly and killed him with the steroid shot. It made the cancer spread so fast, 2 weeks and he was gone. I was not ready to have him leave and still have such bad days that I wish I had died and not him..I love you my husband and I will fight for you. I promise..

  17. It absolutely horrid what the VA and its employees will do to protect they’re union jobs at doing nothing but screwing VETERANS over…when I got my card and I read the requirements which subsequently weren’t any different than the rules for seeking outside VA care previous the choice card legislature! If you’ve been dealing with the VA for awhile you must’ve seen this one coming a mile away. The is no oversight and no laws to keep this fudged organization in line with the requirements of CH 38 CFR. Until the Congress creates a pattern of oversight and a means fir VETERANS to hold these assholes feet to the legal fire and give us justice, it is all just repetitive hogwash of the highest order. What we need is what they won’t give us….VA accountability, oversight and our own insurance healthcare policy that allows us to get fixed, allow us to be more active, keep us pain free, mentally healthy and corrective maintenance. The VA fears the aforementioned because they know how badly they have fucked us for decades!

  18. I’m dealing with the VA Choice program right now. I am waiting for a second return call today from my U.S. Congressman’s office. One person called last week and told me I am eligible for VA Choice, I called the phone number on my Choice card to schedule my appointment and was told I am NOT eligible simply because I live within 40 miles of a small clinic, a clinic that does not offer the treatment I need. That facility is 235 miles from my home, a six hour drive one way. WTF

  19. Essentially, the VA complicity in killing veterans pre-dates the Choice Card. About five years ago, one of my clients, also a good friend, was diagnosed with liver cancer secondary to cirrhosis and Hepatitis C. The Portland, Oregon, Medical Center sent him to Phoenix for a liver transplant evaluation. During his evaluation process, he admitted that he used marijuana and had a legal medical marijuana card in Oregon. The VA told him he had to stop using marijuana because the VA does not recognize its value for medical purposes. He told them he could not stop using it because it was the only thing that helped him with constant pain and PTSD. They denied him a transplant and he died several months later. As far as I am concerned, the VA killed my friend and their failure to authorize the transplant was professional negligence.

  20. I think some humor is in order here. When I joined the VA medical family in 2008 with my 100% rating, I was ecstatic about “free” medical. After four surgical disasters and a year in the Seattle VAMC, I escaped with my life to Medicare. I continued with the dental for free until I started losing teeth. My fault, apparently. I wasn’t getting my fillings replaced faster than they were falling out. I finally got VA Choice this spring to let me go back to my old dentist who was appalled. I’m now healthy(ier) and my teeth are staying put. After carefully perusing the regs on it, I noticed they also are using nautical miles as a metric versus a statute mile (6,076 vs 5,280 ft.). That provoked my humor:
    https://asknod.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/vha-choice-cards-for-frequent-flyers/

    Why would anyone expect VA to suddenly become nonadversarial and Veteran-friendly after over two hundred years of the exact opposite? A zebra cannot change its stripes.

    • You are so true. I have never trusted the VA! Try to find the amount spent on malpractice suits (between 2003 & 2013) the amount is $845million! and guess what, those QUACKS are still employed by the very same VA clinics and hospitals the committed the acts. That should tell everyone something!!!!

      • This is a fact. In mid February (after calling twice) I was informed by the operator for the choice care program I was ineligible. On Fe. 27, I called tele-care and left a message for my primary doctor. On 2 Mar, a nurse called and stated two doctors say NO. Here’s the strange part, neither doctor(s) are my primary care physician. Why did they intercede, and intercept a message to MY primary care physician, and tell me (through a nurse) I was NOT eligible? On 11 Mar. I was surfing the web and found a ‘post’ by the VFW. They are concerned over what is happening. As well they should be. I called ‘National’ and a rep sent a web-page to my wife’s e-mail account so I could take a survey. I took the survey. One of the questions had a phone number to the ‘call center’ of the ‘choice program’. After speaking with the rep, I was informed I was eligible. And made eligible in mid-Feb. This concerned me to no end.
        1.) I was first notified 14th and 18th, (I believe those were the dates I called), Feb.2015 I WAS NOT ELIGIBLE!
        2.) a.) I called my ‘primary care doctor (27 Feb.) to get permission to use the new program. I was told this was the way to get permission.
        b.) I was informed by two VA doctors, (neither one is my primary care doctor) I was NOT eligible on 2 Mar. 2015. This took place during a call from a nurse that day.
        3.) While surfing the web I found a web a page where the VFW was conducting a survey. I took the VFW ‘survey’ on 11 Mar. 2015.
        4.) I called a phone number that is in the ‘survey’ 11 Mar 2015, and was informed I WAS eligible, in mid Feb 2015), to see an “Optometrist”. (although I should be seen by an Ophthalmologist due to a ‘Traumatic eye injury’ I sustained while IN Vietnam 1968).
        5.) I asked the rep “Why was I never notified (to go out side the VA for help?) by either the VA or the Choice Care Program? The rep stated, “That is only a ‘courtesy!” “We don’t contact anyone!”
        Evidently, NO ONE CALLS ANYONE! So, as far as I’m concerned, the VA and the Choice Care Program IS a shame. It was never meant to be used by anyone except a few. This way the ‘Secretary’ could “exclaim” to all “No one is wanting to use it!”

    • asknod, I thought the Seattle VAMC was terrible and I was feeling better about my move back to the Indy VA. After I moved I could not believe how bad the Indy VA had become. It is so bad that I am seriously thinking of moving back to the Seattle VA. I do not like the Seattle VA but it is better than the Indy VA. I can understand how you feel about the Seattle VA as I was not very happy with it. The Indy VA will not look at my 10 yrs. of VA records from the Seattle VA and moving back will allow me to get better???? care. aauugghh, I am screwed!!

  21. Face it, veterans have been lied to for many years and there is not much that is happening to change anything. When veterans have to depend on those that only want a pay check and bonus, our benefits and health care are lost in the bullsh—-t that these traitors want to put us in. They have failed to acknowledge any laws or government that this country developed. We were trained to eliminate this type criminal acts in other countries but we are allowing it in our own.

  22. I go to my primary care clinic once every 6 mos (a va clinic is 10 miles away) but I go to the pain clinic at the hospital at least once a month if not two or three, the pain clinic is 104 miles ONE WAY ! They just denied my choice card since the primary care clinic that can’t even draw blood is close by ! WHAT CHOICE ???

    • If I read and understand the requirements for this “Veterans Choice” correctly the VA Medical will still have the say if the private medical care is appropriate or not meaning to me and words I have heard from VA Medical Personnel “that is too expensive” (while they stuff their mouths with doughnuts supplied by the volunteer service for “VETERANS!” and I would imagine they also collect a “BONUS” for keeping their departments budget down. Tell me, when we get buried is there an American Flag for us on our casket or is that also too expensive? FTVA!

  23. This is a call for a Constitutional Amendment to bring back the draft. Yes, to insure that wars are “short” and compensation / care is given to our veterans, the immediate family, immediate relatives, immediate friends, and immediate associates of SCOTUS, Congress, and the President will have to serve on the front lines. Such includes all past government officials. Then, I feel quite certain of such, when it comes to health care and compensation, a big change will result. What do you think ? Nonetheless, today is 3-24-2015. There’s article on the internet about the Veterans Choice Card …GPS 40 miles…etc.

  24. My front tooth broke on October 30, 2014. On October 31, 2014, I contacted the dental clinic and spoke to a S**** who “verbally authorized” my dental treatment as an emergency. To this day, I have yet to receive any paper, telephone or email notification that my treatment plan had been approved. Over 6 weeks passed before I heard anything from the VA Dental Clinic. I would not have been informed of anything had I not physically gone to the dental almost every week to check on the status. My appointment was set for December 7, 2014. When I went on December 3, 2014 for my “pre-op” visit, the dental manager told me that when this process started, the Dental Clinic had authorized my treatment in the amount of $5000.00. When she and the Dental Fee Basis clerk went through the proposed plan (almost 4 weeks after initial contact had been made) the new total was around $3800. The dentist was advised that they had to join the Fee Basis’s program and if they didn’t they would NOT receive any payment from them. After waiting for 5 weeks and living with the threat that my cracked tooth would disintegrate at any time, I decided to go ahead and pay for my treatment with money I didn’t have and had to put it on my credit card. I opted not to use a VA approved provider because, it has been proven to me that x-rays and treatment plans and appointments are lost, or I was never told about them, or I needed to have a form filled out by one department but the other department has no clue why that form is necessary or even which form that department was referring to. And in dealing with these people, I have been told “soldier get ahold of yourself” by a female member of the eligibility staff, when I started to become emotional. This triggered me for days after the meeting. Also, in dealing with the supervisors, whose voice mail boxes are always full, and you have no other way of contacting them or they never return your call, it’s just like being in the military all over again. Do you know how traumatizing this is to me?
    At the VA everyone acts as if “the goal of care is to provide a specific improvement of the oral conditions that directly impact the medical conditions” does not exist. In my opinion, the VA staff is more concerned with denying me my rights and getting their bonuses. I followed the rules as they apply to a dental emergency and at the last minute was punished for this.
    I have an established relationship with my dentist and his associates. Their staff knows how to accommodate my PTSD, anxiety and panic when I need dental care. And I am very lucky that my dentist will still see me after being yelled at by a person in the Durham VA Dental Fee Basis Clinic back in 2013. Furthermore, why is it my responsibility to persuade my dentist to participate in the VA program, as your letter leads me to think? I would think that the VA would want to have an extraordinary relationship with all business leaders in the area.
    After all of this, I received the VA Choice dated in January, 2015. I needed it in October, 2014.

  25. I’m a veteran work for the VA and I have many stories to tell but I can’t or I’ll be fired. But yes the VA is an inept corrupt cesspool of deceit.

    • Here is my 2 cents. Those throwing rocks at glass mirrors are a bunch of ignorant, non- serving jealous fucks. So what if a person smoked? So what if a person drank? So what if a person abused drugs? In my early military years most of my superiors and training leaders abused all of the above in service. The military sold cigarettes at a discount, there were titty Thursday, secure early fridays, hookers and bars as far as the eye could see outside of every military base on earth and the government and military condoned it. It’s always a different story when we had to go over seas, be present to assist or stop the threat to our national security by whatever means necessary, right? But when its time to cash in the benefit for destroying us our psych or our physical stature we cant get help. THE VA HAS SUCKED FOR AS LONG AS I’VE DEALT WITH THEM and continue to suck. I have been totally destroyed and family destroyed thanks to the VA and the military. When I received my VETCHOICE CARD, I showed my friends and laughed at the JOKE. We have been fooled so many times in the past I saw this one coming before it even got approved by Congress! Until every civilian and veteran join forces and demand a full lifetime health insurance coverage outside the VA MC we are goingvto continue to face the death sentences, bad drug treatment and malpractice of the past and present. ALL VA EMPLOYEES SUCK and are Ordered to lie, cheat and steal from the American taxpayers which veterans are and have always been a part of.

      • You hit the nail on the head. I really believe the “choice program” is just another Obama jobs program for ignorant people to answer phones and screw up appointments and make excuses why you CAN’T get care. When it comes down to it most people don’t really care if you live or die…until it’s their turn.

        Even simple things like getting eye glasses are such a pain. I wanted to use the program for this instead of using my wife’s insurance. I was told the choice program only paid for the exam and not the lenses but if I took the prescription into the VA (50 miles away) they would make the glasses. I considered it until they said it would take almost two months. Something inside of me said it’s not even worth it just because it is the VA. I have a pretty good feeling I would wait all that time and they would just screw them up anyway and I would be extremely angry and end up using my wife’s insurance anyway. I really believe they have set this program up to make us want to give up.

        I also think the choice program is just another jobs program so low skilled people will have a job answering phones and screwing up appointments. They read from a script (sort of ) and when it goes bad they just disconnect the call.

    • Please speak out even if it’s on this site, Americans like your self have an obligation to stop and help, if not you then who? Will help us! Two wrongs don’t make it right!

      If you have information send it to Ben’s email, no one else will see it. Veterans need your help!

  26. My Veteran husband decided that after his one visit to VA he’d rather work, pay for health insurance through his employer until he drops dead at the age of 95.

  27. I know there are problems in the VA system, which are deplorable and inexcusable. I’m a Veteran that lives in WV, and I’ve gotten exemplary care. However, Choice Care is a Farce. I had no problem when the VA made appointments for me with local providers. BTW, my primary care doc is 3.5 miles from my house, but I’ve had to have procedures for which the nearest VA hospital is in excess of 200 miles. The Choice Care people can’t find their asses with both hands. They’ve messed up every appointment that I’ve needed them to make, and now are doing the same thing with my husband, who is also a vet.

    He had emergency eye surgery at the WVU Eye Institute, for a tear in his retina. This surgery occurred 3 hours after the VA optometrist found the tear, during a normal vision screening. Now he needs a followup appointment, which has been approved and the paperwork submitted 2 weeks ago.

    After 7 phone calls, which we’ve been told that: it takes Choice Care 5 days to make an appointment, that the system is down, that the system is down, that it takes 5 days for them to make the appointment, the system is down, the system is down, yet we can find the information (get the picture?). The latest is that “the system is down”…until I asked for a supervisor. Apparently the system was functioning enough for them to tell us that we’re calling the wrong Choice Care administrator.

    This supervisor, a total genius, said that Choice Care is separated into different regions, and we’re calling the wrong office. Okay, to make it clear, I’m a Veteran, I have THIS number and these assholes are the administrator for MY REGION, but yet, my husband has a different region?

    Did they suddenly move a State, County, City, boundary line? Have they rezoned the dining room??? Do we suddenly have 2 zip codes for the same house? Have they moved West Virginia, as I slept?

    I’ve gotten our US Senator and US Congressional Representative involved. I cannot take it anymore! I’m ready to climb through the phone and strangle someone, and trust me, I’ll be found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity.

    I’m testifying at our Senator’s office in Charleston, in an attempt to get them to oust the Choice Care program. I personally know of 27 local Veterans that are having the same problems, and the list is growing daily.

    No, I don’t want to drive 100 miles to get care, but I need to get care in a timely manner. This outsourced piece of shit has to go.

    I urge anyone with problems with Choice Care to contact both of your US Senators and your US House Representative, PLEASE!

    • One appointment so far under Choice and 13 phone calls. Biggest problem I see is the providers are flying in the dark and can’t see the actual approval beyond the 1st appointment. Meaning if 4 procedures are needed only the approval comes in for the 1st appointment with a 60 day window.

      Beside that, the paperwork process, primarily the lengthy telephone chain, takes over 30 days to get in to see someone under the program.

  28. My husband was being treated at the VA Hospital Mather Sacramento from 2009-2014. He was diagnosed with microscopic hematuria, severe obstructive sleep apnea, hypertension, glaucoma, enlarged prostate, PTSD, degenerative disc disease low back , mandibular fracture, smoking, alcohol use. He had surgery on his jaw at an outside hospital but it never set right. He was diagnosed with the hematuria while in the service 1984-1987. He had a family history of colon cancer and COPD. They saw him ever year, but in 2013 they decided to have him use a CPAP machine, it didn’t work because with the mandibular fracture it never fit right and was extremely uncomfortable, so he stopped using it.When he got the diagnosis they put him on Diazepam (a sedative to help him sleep and control his PTSD!!).He was already on blood pressue and pain pills for hypertension and low back pain. They said to control the above he would have to go through smoking cessation but on his own time with no medications. When he got severely depressed, he would have an occasional glass of white wine or A beer 3 times a week. They shifted him from one primary doctor to another the entire time.His pain, mood disorder, constant urination, headaches, blood pressure dropping on meds, (I monitored his BP daily) eye drops for eyes though slowly losing sight got worst evey year. He filed for Social Security Disability 3 times (appeal after appeal)..denied the last one in 2013, so he filed another one 9/13, waiting on appeal. ..he served his country honorably with several medals. The VA said he was okay, to us and Social Security.Well starting in March 2013, he complained of a cough, “he’s fine”, kept him on pain meds, BP meds, prostate, glaucoma and sleep meds. He stopped the CPAP because he “couldn’t sleep with it on”. He started losing weight rapidly, the cough got worse, red blood count dropping for years but he couldn’t get in to see his primary, went to ER they hydrated him & sent him home in 2012, that took a long wait, he got dizzy & passed out.Still sent him home with his meds in the mail, blood work done, MRI of low back, disc disease, CT of mouth, jaw misaligned, so it didn’t help with OSA.Finally on June 2, 2014 he went in with”shortness of breath, rapid weight loss (35 lbs) in 3 months…they had the year before told him to lose weight from 205 to 185, 5’9″ but not that fast. They didn’t do “standard procedure of a simple chest x-ray,or even further a CT or Pulmonary Funtion Testing ” abc’s of shortness of breath. Just get blood work done, continue meds, see you in 6 months maybe. Well my husband died in our home while I was away, they found him June 13, 2014, he had gone to sleep, never woke up!! Because of a death in home, nothing the doctor thought life ending, the Coroner’s Office did an autopsy…cause of death “Emphysema For Years ” never treated because of not following protocol..chest x-ray. I am continuing to fight Social Security “death with disabilities “, which they have denied me twice, now I go before a judge in Federal Court. My Congressman has been involved, as well as Senators Boxer, Feinstein, President Obama, First Lady Obama, Director of Social Security Colvin, VA Director Robert McDonald but my Congressman and 4 doctirs have advised me the “misdiagnosed him” yet could have saved him just fir a simple “chest x-ray”.The VA responded to the Congressman that my husband did not die if “Emphysema “, but not using CPAP, smoking, the glass of wine 3 times a week, with…the sedatives and pain killers…that they gave him monthly until a month after his death he ” killed ” himself. I had informed the Coroner about the sedatives & pain pills before the exam, they collected them…He should also “NEVER” prescribed them with the sleep apnea and jaw fracture.His underlying cause of death were only mild ventricular atherosclerosis of heart valve…no blood or urine available to screen, but internal organs were available. .no sedatives or pain pills..as his blood work detected on June 2, 2014…they came after his death..later with me pulling ALL VA medical records..never a chest ex-‘ray..nor stopping the drugs that would relax his breathing…they killed him..in my investigation I found he had what is known as an “OVERLAP DISEASE OF COPD AND OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA (OLDSA) which can be sustained by bronchodialator, 24 hour oxgen (not thru a CPAP ) but an oxygen machine, oral meds for COPD…yet he wasn’t diagnosed with COPD. He was only 51 the month before, we had been married 21 yrs, together 25 yrs! I have tried across the country to get an attorney to help me file a FTCA 95, since I ‘ve done the records, notifications to the superiors named above, researched, spoke to other MD’s ( I’m retired Mgr for ENT and Neurosurgeon ), got my Congressman involved, filed with a Social Security Attorney a Federal Civil Suit against Social Security but NO attorney will touch my case because it’s the Veteran’s Administration who are under fire for various reasons then and now. That hospital has had at least 3-4 suspicious deaths but no repercussions. I will use my late husband’s private money, my two sons business money and notify the media of my problem esp. since I have several well renowned musicians, actors, actresses, pro athletes in my family, the Congressional members I am now close to my statue of limitations, so we will go to the local news, social media, national media of how I had to fight for my husband’s death in vain…I am filing the Federal Tort Claim Act on my own no later than April 15, 2016 before the 2 year statue of limitations is up. With my own money, medical records, research of his Emphysema, Obstructive sleep apnea and so far I’ve learned the long 6 month wait they placed on him June 2, 2016…he would have died beause they failed to diagnose him “CORRECTLY “…so that’s my fight in which I will use my money, my famous celebrity family, my current celebrity family members, the numerous professional athletes I am close to, my Congressman McClintock, my two Senators if need be from California (they offered personally) the local and national news, social media but I do not want to see my retired Veteran ex husband, my youngest retired Veteran brother, my oldest Veteran brother go thru what me and my husband went thru “ever in this lifetime ” nor any OTHER U.S. VETERAN . You will hear about this nationally “about the little old widow who took on the Veteran’s Administration by HERSELF”.I am the wrong widow to just hope disappear from the fight. Thank you Mr.Krause for your platform, blog with all my heart fir I’m grateful for your time and cooperation is truly appreciated
    Mrs.Sherri Harris

    • Ihave a multitude of incurable life threatening diseases both service connected and non service connec ted. I’ve been diagnosed with NSC-COPD and OSA, NSC-Cirrhois of the Liver, SC-Agent Orange exposure related CAD, SC-DMll, SC-Chronic Peripheral Polyneuropathy, NSC-Carpal Tunnel Syndrome on both hands, SC-ED, NSC-Hypothyroidism, NSC-Essential HTN, SC-PTSD and more. I underwent surgeries for Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma in 1993, Heart By-pass in 1996, Clear Cell Renal and Adrenal Gland Carcinoma in 2008, Cataract surgery in 2009, Anal Fissure in 2008, Colectomy due to Diverticulitis in 2007, Ulnar nerve surgery in 2009, Gall Bladder removal in 2001 and more! I am a 5′ 8 1/2′ 225 lb 70 year old male wasting away. My own primary care doctor would not write a supporting letter so I may attempt to secure Aid and attendance or SAH and I’m appalled. I live 35 miles from the nearest VAMC, was recently supplied a 4wheel walker to replace my cane. I have a membership card from the Choice Program that found me eligible for urology care only so they said. My gastroenterologist wrote a letter to state I am not to drive due to my Cirrhois but I have no choice. My spleen is extremely enlarged just waiting to hemorage because I am always falling due to gait and daily cramps with photos of my scared up legs available. My records from as far back as 20 years ago diagnosed an enlarged liver and spleen but was only addressed a bit more actively by the VA around 2009 or 2010. My PC doctor has refused to write me a letter of support acknowledging the serious nature of my medical history and her prognosis so I may attempt to secure an aid and attendant. thank you! Waiting to die, Edward Sparacio

  29. I live more than 100 miles from the nearest VA hospital or clinic and I was denied proper medical attention for my service connected disability period . Called so many DRs. It’s a expletive crock. Insult. disgusted

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