Is Veterans Choice Program Now Permanent At Veterans Affairs?

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Veterans Choice Program

Veterans Choice Program

Benjamin KrauseVeterans Affairs leadership just announced to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs that it is not only embracing the Veterans Choice Program but that Veterans Choice will be integrated into the agency’s mission.

Hopefully, this change will not be too little too late after VA personnel ran off many doctors by obstructing payments for services rendered. Many veterans report that doctors now refuse to take Veterans Choice because of persistent refusals to cooperate.

RELATED: Shocking Veterans Choice Farce Exposed

On Wednesday, VA committed to making changes to clean up bureaucratic roadblocks the agency implemented to make use of Veterans Choice difficult. Instead, deputy secretary of VA Sloan Gibson indicated the integration of Veterans Choice is a long-term health care solution. Veterans Choice will be a firm part of the VA health care program.

In a press conference, Gibson stated, “These efforts won’t just improve the way we do community care — they will make community care part of the fabric of VA care, making VA a truly integrated health care system.”

RELATED: VA Reverses Veterans Choice Policy

Dr. Baligh Yehia, assistant undersecretary for health for community care, said VA plans to put more effort into creating a new referral system for doctors.

The plan is to apparently turn VHA into a “high-performing network” that will include private care doctors and private-public record sharing. As described, VA’s next path adjustment will be to morph into an HMO at a cost of $400 million each year.

Some Democrats claim the move is in furtherance of an effort to privatize VA health care. Republicans insist the plan is to supplement VA health care but not supplant it. One Republican, Re. Brad Wenstrup, said, “I think we should shift away from calling it non-VA care but extending VA care.”

My take is that the wait list scandal and other scandals festered to the point of the ridiculous under President Obama, a Democrat, such that a private choice was required to fix some of the problems. This version of privatization occurred under a Democrat. Therefore, Democrats cannot cry wolf over the “privatization” boogyman. That is my take.

The fact remains that privatizing parts of VHA health care has been a long term plan since Hillary Clinton drove the committee that lead to the Health Security Act. Documentation at the time shows Clinton engineered the eventual evolution of VHA becoming more of an HMO than merely a collection of hospitals and clinics.

RELATED: Hillary Clinton Doubles Down On VA

The Veterans Choice debate is beginning to look more like a semantic game. What ever happened to VA just doing the right thing, or did that never exist to begin with?

[easy-tweet tweet=”@deptvetaffairs – I fully support Veterans Choice.”]

Source: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/nov/18/va-comes-around-choice-card-program/

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52 Comments

  1. I dont know if Veterans Choice will last under the watch of TriWest. Dignity Healthcare just terminated their own participation in the program.

  2. I am currently in the Veterans Choice program. When I first entered the program I was very excited as I had been discouraged. For 3 years I tried desperately to get physical therapies including Chiropractic therapy. Instead I was given thousands of dollars worth of medications that I never used. After fighting for that long I was ready for the Choice program to help me find therapy and they did. I began seeing a local chiropractor and I cannot express how much I was physically, mentally, and even emotionally. Going into the program I knew that VA would eventually stop paying for my care because VA does not do “maintenance care”, but they’ll load you down with hundreds of pills and send you home. I was approved for 12 visits to the chiropractor which went by very quickly. Before my treatment plan ended my chiropractor and I both agreed that to sustain my standard of living and to prevent further damage I needed to continue being treated. For the next several weeks I argued via email with the nurses at my local VA, while also arguing with the folks at the Veterans choice program. Both the VA and the Choice program continuously “passed the buck” and would tell me to call the other in order to get more visits approved. It finally got to the point where I needed more help and I have now taken steps with the patient advocates office and my congressmen. I am only 28 years old and I refuse to sit around and wait for my care. I have seen far to many real Veterans men and women who served our country not being cared for properly. I should not have to jump through every hoop just to receive therapy, but if I tell you my toe hurts you give me medication at the drop of a hat. I pray that things change and medical care becomes much more available to the Veterans who desperately need it. I urge every Veteran facing issues receiving care to do something about it. No one will take care of you like you so get out there and get what you earned.

  3. I am on medicare advantage Aetna. I am at retirement age. I have a very good GP
    and a few specialists. I only go to the va hospital for meds and a headache.
    If you have medical insurance use it. That’s just my opinion. Also many of my
    buddies. They just don’t have the equipment.

  4. When a dishonest DBC terminated my healthcare locally and required me to check in with police at the hospital 120 miles round trip distant, I reminded them that the law in my case requires local therapy for PTSD. So, I was issued a Veterans Choice card to get local therapy for PTSD. I can’t ambulate or drive well and the 120 mile round trip to see my prescriber is unworkable.

    So, I had a Choice Card that let me see a counsellor, issued concurrently with terminating 6 medications from the local clinic which left me without meds because I couldn’t make the trip.

    The local therapist said that without psychiatric medications in place that counselling was contraindicated. She said it was pointless exploring therapy goals when I was in mental anguish from all my psychiatric meds being terminated.

    So, yes, the Choice card gave me permission to get therapy locally, but not the psychiatric drugs necessary to treat the condition.

    It was worthless. Absolutely no value. This is why VHA embraces the plan. It’s worthless but creates VHA jobs to fill out the paperwork.

  5. OF COURSE IT HAS!!!
    The VA has quickly learned Veteran’s NO CHOICE is a CA$H COW and can be used to send the VA Sec. to a$k for additional fund$ under the auspices of “offering a choice”, when it seems the middleman contracting companies need eliminated completely!
    Why NOT make Veteran’s Choice be managed under Medicare and entirely ELIMINATE these lackey middle-micro management contracting companies that are never on the same page with what VAMC has what services?

    Why NOT work out the *major kinks* in Choice before throwing more $$$ at it only to be a place the VA already KNOWS they can swipe and steal CA$H from?

    Make no mistake, in principle/theory, The Choice Program is sure a great alternative BUT WHY have such $hitty middle-men Contractors that do nothing more than make MORE RED TAPE?

    I worry that this will be nothing but a $lush-Fund for the VA, while Veterans again will be holding the short end of stick? Is this in a sense enabling the VA to continue to be dysfunctional without addressing fundamental accountability issues?

    • I meant…why not have CHAMPVA manage the Choice Program rather than contractors that have no idea what clinics in VA System offer which services…which makes a sick Veteran have to jump through unwarranted back and forth red tape? Why spend money on middlemen when the VA could and should handle all these referrals and authorizations?
      Or…would this be considered “too much work for these poor union employees”?

      • Exactly namnibor, CHAMPVA is in place and doctors take it. I had it for years until my husband turned 60 and got Tricare.

        In fact, I never had a doctor refuse it. Just watch the VA fix that little problem. Doctors take it? Got to stop that. Unions will whither.

    • Choice has yet to pay the providers! Heck they are charging veterans medicare, TriCare etc! illegally other providers do not have that option. Spend an hour for each consult authorized by the VA w their “psychotic 29 beat music loop” is bad enough! Choice has further delayed treatment esp in rural areas where Fee-Base was working well! The only good thing is VA-appointment is over 30-days then can use Choice & the VA cannot do anything about that! I have missed major medical care due to Choice messing up the paperwork for the Dr & Hospital etc! I have had to write all the VA Executives on this matter back in mid-Aug on this matter heck, Choice did not even answer their phones from July 2,2015 until Aug 5, 2015!

    • Two things on Choice.
      1. If it suddenly improves and vets are getting timely care, it means the VA fought the proper implementation of Choice from the beginning, wasting billions.
      2. If there is zero improvement with Choice, that means every member of the House and Senate ignored veterans who have been complaining loudly and often about Choice not working properly. They ignored veterans and chose to continue wasting money.

      Hopefully the VA stops fighting it and the program improves significantly.

      Hope isn’t much to rely on.

  6. Let’s see. Choice or NOChoice, that is the question?
    How many were approved through the Program, but then were not approved through VA, or visa-versa? Or just never heard back from VA or the Choice people? Or even after making many calls to VA or the Choice people, being told, “[they] were still working on it?”
    That was my case with VA. I was informed by a well respected (outside) Opthamalogist, because of my war related injuries, I should be seeing this type of physician, instead of an optometrist. Why, because of damage done to my eyes in Vietnam.
    After almost a year, VA still has me seeing an optometrist. He’s actually stated, “I don’t care what happened in the past!” “I’m treating you for what’s going on now!”
    I don’t have other healthcare. Wish I did! I’ve stated that to VA healthcare professionals.
    So, since this program was started, I see few being able to take advantage of it!
    I would like an answer(s) to this, and other questions.

    “How many veterans actually got to use this program for their complete medical care, from beginning to end of that medical care?”
    Not just, “Oh, xxxx amount of veterans were approved!” That’s not a ‘true count’ of what the program was designed to do!
    Lastly, how much of the taxpayers monies are no longer available, for whatever reason, in the Choice Program?

    • elf,
      I was authorized for an MRI through the “choice Program”. The hospital I went to called me a month later to inform me they had not received anything from the VAMC. I contacted the VAMC and was told they most likely sent it to the wrong address and gave me an address and the authorization number for them to send the paperwork to get paid.
      I received a bill from that hospital on Fri. Nov. 21 for the whole amount, $4,025.96. I guess that what I get for thinking this was a done deal. I will now have to call the hospital and the VAMC to see what is going on. I hope this will get settled as I was approved, given the authorization number, and thought it was settled two months ago.
      It took forever to get this authorized in the first place. I made sure that everything was in order before I went to the appointment or I would not have went.
      If the VA keeps the choice program, does that mean more of us will have this problem and many of us may have to pay out of pocket for something we should not have to pay for?
      f8f

      • I’ve read a number of comments on VA is Lying where vets are getting billed because Choice is so messed up.

        I would send the bill and an explanation to my Congressman, but I’ve never gotten a Choice card.

        I’ll be off the grid over the next few days. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  7. This would be wonderful news, IF there were any reason to believe VA has honest intentions to serve veterans rather than just continuing to feed the bureaucracy monster. But based on my decades of experience with VA they never ever tell the truth about anything and every last move is designed to increase funding not service. If this were a sincere effort to improve service, why would the care not be managed through CHAMPVA which is already in place and does a bang up good job ? Creating even more bureaucracy just exacerbates the problems of VA. I predict, this is another trick, the hoop jumping will be impenetrable, and more veterans will die because of it.

    • Good point about CHAMPVA. The VA is familiar with it, doctors are familiar with it, no need for new processes, etc.
      Expanding Choice while ignoring CHAMPVA appears to be a way of enriching lobbyists and private contractors who will never have proper Congressional oversight.
      Overseeing CHAMPVA would be the federal agency and Congress. Overseeing Choice will be the federal agency and some Contracting Official that will never do their jobs, and little or no oversight by Congress.

      • There is no choice. You have to call in five days before you use it or they wont pay for it. The people who run it are NOT affiliated with the VA in any way, and even the paper we get says there is NO assurance that they will even pay for it IF you use it correctly.

        So again I say, WHAT choice?

  8. So the Democrats think this is another ploy by Republicans to privatize care. What does that say about Democrats? Are they not interested in better and more treatment options for veterans? Are they worried their voting constituency in which VA employees are a part, will no longer support their reelection? Perhaps it is because the VA is just not a big enough bureaucracy now and we know Democrats believe government can solve all our issues?

    The VA continues to be a political football. While that football is being tossed up and down the field by the bureaucrats and politicians, the veteran (spectators) realizes one stark reality -the game is not being played for them, it is all about the players. The bureaucrats maintaining the out of control bureaucracy with the help of some politicians and other politicians saying what they think veterans want to hear perpetuates the status quo. We continue to be the only losers in this game. Perhaps it is time we took the field?

    It is truly a shame we can’t get our voices heard. A couple of dozen students in a college who are butt hurt over someone supposedly calling them names gets more attention than dozens of vets dying each day by their own hand. A cat video gets, a half million people watching it on You Tube in a day and a story about an Iraqi war hero gets 27,000 views in 6 months. A crazed gunman kills 5 people and it is on the news for days, yet 30,000 veterans die waiting for health care and it makes one news cycle. What will it take before we are taken seriously and the American people stop with the lip service crap of thanking us for our service? (rant/off)

  9. Regarding privatization, if there are politicians that think that might happen, what are those politicians proposing that will fix the existing VA to prevent privatization?

    Complaint without proposing a fix is just whining.

  10. WHAT choice? Did you even read the card or the paper that came with it? The card has VAMC plastered all over it and yet when you call the number you are clearly told by the person on the other end of the phone, that they are NOT VA nor are they affiliated with the VA.

    Or in the fine print of the paper that came with the card, it clearly says that you must call and get the visit authorized FIVE DAYS BEFORE you try and use it. Ok say I am having problems with my nerve damage and its getting worse…what they are telling me is that I had to call five days BEFORE the attack so they could authorize me to go to the emergency room or hospital other then a VAMC FOR the attack! And unless you do this, they can refuse to pay for it, thus sticking you with the bill.

    And they call this a choice???

  11. Here’s a great radio broadcast from 9/2/2014. Even though it’s over a year old. It explains, in no uncertain terms, what’s going on today. The two special guests are; Ret. U.S. Airforce Gen. Paul McInerny and Ret. U.S. Army Gen. Paul Vallely.
    Both explain how “…the U.S. is in the middle of a Constitutional Crisis”! Their “subject matter” is mainly on how ISIS, El Quida (sic) and other extremist groups are carrying out unspeakable acts against Americans and other countries citizens.
    They explain, also, that the “American people need to get out of the political mode…” – and “…have our representatives declare ‘NO CONFIDENCE’ in this government..
    Even the VA is mentioned.

    The title is;
    “U.S. Military Generals: Constitutional Crisis Could Force Military to Remove Obama”

    Strong language is represented by these two individuals in trying to safeguard Americans!
    It’s a great thing to listen to, brothers and sisters……I hope y’all will take the time. It’s kinda long.

    • @crazyelf-

      You and I do think very much alike. Scary. Only some of us were talking about that very subject matter years before that broadcast, remember?

      POTUS current, and even the previous CIC’s have *refused* to acknowledge these wars from how the enemy actually DOES view it…a holy war, hence that name I will not type here for sake of g oog le but starts with a ‘J’.
      No, the “enemy” was called back with Bush, “evildoers”, and Obama refuses to use the Mus… Extrem…t namesake, but our enemies are HELLbent on it being not so much a primary “Ideology War”, no, a Religious. Apples and Oranges, but everyone is dancing around this damn Political Correctness…and we need the Likes of Ike and General’s with balls but I think France and Russia involved deeply and officially, and it’s been revealed there’s no less than 1000+ active investigations within our USA of people HERE trying to assist the enemy, so why let MORE in?

      There’s Homeless Veterans plenty in USA yet we will assist the enemy, roof over head, filled fridge, and a place in line on Black Friday?~~~hell No!

      This probably is a ‘fog of war’ political thing with talk about Impeaching POTUS, because we all know that with the now less than a year left of this madness, they may pull a ‘Bill Clinton 101’ and just let it slide in time. A diversion. Nothing less. My theory.

      Rant over.

      • @namnibor,
        Congress just passed the bill to “Pause entry” for Syrians and Iraqis.
        There was enough to block Obamy’s veto also.
        Next step is to get Obamy outta office pronto.
        Then hit ISIS and all the rest of the “Islamic Extremists” as hard and fast as possible.

        Foot note;
        Tonight on CBS Evening News @ 6pm.
        Ex service members are being recruited to return to Iraq and fight ISIS.
        Also, the one word that an Islamic Extremist hates is —-
        DAESH.
        For some reason they hate it. Don’t know why and could care less. So, when I’m out and about it might be a good way to differentiate between a good Muslim and the other kind. lmao

  12. I’ve had the “card” for a couple of years now and not once has it been used or accepted by so-called health pros in West Central Indiana. Either the VA pays for something or it does not. Or they may have claimed they have their own acupuncturist or chiros in training now. If we can travel hundreds of miles to use them. When they all get trained the VA way. Big joke.

    All the while trying to fight against being ignored by the new PCP, again, who refuses to continue on with years old treatments and items used from the VA. The separated clinics now demand new yearly ‘consults’ to continue use of items and treatments. Not happening when young MDs ignore our request and what all others MDs have said. Or items we’ve used and got from the VA for years, is now a huge hassle to get. No help from Patient Advocates and others who never contact us in return. Maybe days later then like the new PCP claims they don’t know how to contact us, making us wait more months of playing phone and email tag to get NO WHERE.

    Aside all that do these stupid cards work? Hell no, nobody uses them or wants to see them. The VA is just billed after their own special contacts between a Md and the VA. Then we can be seen by a civilian Md or told to forget it and just go play games at the far distanced VA hospital and deal with all; the neglect and abuse.

    Do veteran groups care? Hell no, not a one wants involved or care to get involved, just pass the buck and deny. It’s just time for a change and the media to stay focused on this crap until there is some real change instead of all the hype and lip service from all.

    • We need to able to trust MD’s and VA and those who have a close relationship with them, and speaking from an insider’s view(working on Capitol Hill with two or three agency (NASA Hq.,HHS , Dept.Education) the same commitees and staff padding thier pockets and family, even a lot of corpt america ( sorry for any missspellings) as a carrier/driver/and support staffer

      • Trust is a big issue. The more I’ve questioned and complained the more retaliation and lies I get from all sectors of the VA. The foreigner/young feminist doctor PCP that doesn’t agree with anyone including me and “I don’t know my own body” stuff. “She’s a professional woman and knows what’s best for me” crap. The best ones are the past two PCPs in one year, told me they have not read my file, but are treating me anyway and dropped pain meds and etc.

        I talk and question the clerks and others about this treatment and all I hear is how great they all are and can’t believe they’d treat anyone the way they have me in that clinic or hospital. Then all the game playing and no returned calls or contact began. Now it’s been nothing but games especially from the Patient Advocates office that refuse timely call backs for days. Then I call back it’s someone new and knows nothing about me or the issues and then on and on it goes for over a year now.

        I was told by one “victims advocate’ to contact and complain to the state attorney general which I did. Their office reported they have nothing to do with the VA or pain med issues or about medical mis-conduct. So as told I contacted the Medical boards of Indiana with the issues. I was told by them, with no names given for whom I spoke and wrote to, to go back the the state’s AG and tell them they are lying! Then more back and forth goes on with no-one taking blame or responsibility for anything and that the VA is Federal and nothing can be done even in Wash DC if the local state VA boards or VA hospital directors to not get involved…ALONG WITH THEIR UNIONS like the SEIU and whatever else runs the joint.

        A couple of vets overheard me at the pharmacy and another clinic and told me that’s the game they play to kill you off or harass the hell out of you until you just walk away from their VA system. Both of them used to work at the same hospital until they where disabled and retired. No other groups or people want to get involved or bother themselves with these issues, none. Not to mention the other problems of high turn-over rate for their workers and the cliques at the clinics, CBOCs and hospital, so people don’t stand a chance unless they have the money to hire an attorney or some protected minority or female with groups to back us, which I don’t fit in with any of them being a White male. That past two PCPs have not been White so there is more issues to deal with. So racism and abuse against White old vets is accepted able at a very left wing liberal run VA system and in towns with the same outlooks and activism.

        So no-body, no vet groups or orgs want to help us plain old low profile type nobody veterans the only thing to do is to walk away and say hell with it. Because I am very tired of months of dealing with the liars, haters, special interest groups, the far leftist union members and others that don’t care or don’t want to do their jobs. And surely one person alone trying to deal with them all is pointless. They have all proven that.

        Best of luck to all others dealing with this phony dog and pony show lying system that is filled with self-serving liars, bigots, anti-Americans and down right lazy scum that have no business being called professionals, MDs, or brag about going to some IU med center college or some other radical bottom feeding college that must pass the brain dead for use in VA clinics and hospitals.

      • Hows about you do what I did. I took a small recorder in with me and specifically asked the doctor why they were doing this and recorded their answer. Then I took it to the Chief of staffs office and left a copy and told him that either I changed doctors to one that would listen, or I turned this over to the press. That doctor was dismissed less then 3 days later. I am way too old to be playing games with these fools and you should not have to either

      • That’s what I did about a year and half ago that started this phone and email tag game. A doctor notices a red light on my recorder in my Bib’s pocket and spread the word I guess. A Advocate asked me about that or recording discussions on the phone and I told her ‘heck yes just to prove I’m not the one lying or playing games.” I was then told by a tech/clerk at a visit that it was illegal in the state (IN) and she, the union or others will sue me because it’s against state law. An attorney told me I would be in for an expensive fight since I did not notify anyone, another person, the person, that I was recording anything. Excluding my home phone. And told a judge would not allow stuff like that to be heard in chambers or the courts. But then again local attorneys can’t be trusted either. Lessons learned a few times now.

        All my emails for proof, for the most part have been deleted from my Healthy E-vet Secure Messenger service. Which I was told was private and secure but found out twice now that that too is a huge lie. All of my previous emails when changing VA facilities and the reasons why ‘were ALL deleted’ by a VA computer tech or IT specialist, who are not supposed to be allowed to do these kinds of actions or supposedly no access to the account. More lies the VA said.

        So I sent an email, that is spread around like all of our stuff is. Which can be downloaded to see all the messaging we have done with them all. If certain ones have not been deleted by their IT staff. Stating that I refuse to speak or discuss anything with anybody or clinic, staff, unless it’s recorded in full in person or by phone. No more game playing with emails or the VA website. Since the last email claiming that a few months ago it just got worse. The phone rings from the VA , I answer, they hang up and then say they can’t contact me or I won’t talk to them or they need my contact info again, which doesn’t help either. So the ball is in their court and they are winning for now.

        All contacted tell me my only hope is the VA hospitals Advocates office. So since if that is true I am already out of the game since non of them really want to discuss my issues or talk to me. And I really don’t need to hear nothing but defensive rhetoric and calling me a liar about the doctors and office help they have that protect and support their cohorts in crime and mis-conduct. Hell, they all work and play together and are best mates in the so-called teams at the VA so I don’t expect any honesty or decency from any of them when all they are concerned about is their perks, pay and positions.

      • So why didnt you place a small piece of electrical tape over the light? or tape the recorder under your collar of a heavy shirt? or get a hat and place the recorder under the hat and hide the boom mike under a medal or something on the hat.

        There are a hundred different ways to do this. And let them sue you, then what you do is give the press a copy of the tape where they admit they are committing a crime and let the press do a story on it, still gets to the public and the Judge cant stop it nor can the so called union. And that leave a WHOLE lot of questions that they will have to answer.

    • Now the problems will be to find a real MD, civilian, geriatric type doc that can take on and do what five to seven past clinics were doing for me. Plus finding like three specialist outside the phony VA to try to get in to see and carry on my present needs and equipment. That too will be a trying time of a joke seeing how so far I am told I have to pay one to get referred to the specialist. That grand spread the big money around game so all can drive their Mercedes and go to the Bahamas five/six times a year.

      What a damn joke this country and government has become. Totally corrupted top to bottom and foxes in offices trying to run the hen-house.

  13. In so far as the West Los Angeles VA goes, Veterans Choice is a fantasy. I have been avoided or ignored on the subject.

  14. Short story, Disabled veteran, lives 30 miles away from closes VHA, No car, and unable to walk. Has an Emergency on Sunday for a condition that is connected to service condition that has been segmented into symptoms, instead of disease by VA. They never pay the bill even though the veterans blood pressure was heart attack high when picked up by ambulance. VBA and VHA has a tendency to not call a spade a spade, I mean they just symptomize things and never come to conclusions because they may need to pay someone a benefit. For that reason all veterans should seek outside help to define actual conditions, then go to VA. If you don’t, they will drag feet as long as possible,you may have Gunshot wound and they will treat you for headache only and deny that for service connection. God forbid you actually have a disease or energy that starts in service due to a vaccine etc… because they will let it run the gauntlet of damage to your body before they say you have X and it is because of X. if they can’t stop you from a benefit, the next level is to slow you. I have very little faith in anything they say as the pure truth.

  15. Since my own series of articles about the fraud, misconduct, misrepresentation of fact, and “conspiracy to interfere with he delivery of a federal healthcare product” (use that line with them in a complaint and they poop their pants) was printed in two consequtive issues of the Sunday Register Guard, the “New Disruptive Behavior Committee” met and issued a GET THIS NOW – READ CAREFULLY; they issues an Administrative Cat 2 Behavioral flag that requires all VHA personel to report directly to the Chairman of the DBC all (from my own record) “…non face-to-face contact is to be reported to the Chairman of the DBC.”

    VA Directive uses two words the VHA has never used in any other directive that I am aware or “…PRF entered for administrative purposes is STRICTLY PROHIBITED” That directive 2010-53 says the purpose of any PRF is to alert the clinician in the initial face to face encounter to any possible threats.

    Now, the infamous Roseburg DBC has ignored their own “strictly prohibited” Administrative CAT 2 PRF into my record which simply states a “backwards” PRF. If the purpose of the PRF is to alert clinicians in the initial moments of the face to face encounter, then a PRF that specifically requires them to (instead of being alerted) themselves alerting the DBC of ANY “non face-to-fade” contacts” with myself.

    So now the VHA has granted itself the authority to disregard VHA policy, openly, require all contact with me, on or off campus, to be reported directly to the DBC Chairman who must approve every single procedure!!!! One tooth is broken at the gums. one is broken in half from decay. One is missing entirely from being pulled in the E-room locally. Why? Becaue for two years I have begged to get dental, but always the Chairman of the DBC found and documented a reason in my record not to; “Patient has put roadblocks in place for his care…”

    You tell me what that means when I am in toothache pain severe enough that the emergency room pulled the tooth that VHA was waiting on the DBC approval to take care of.

    Now the really bad part: In five letters to my congressman about this obvious and reported upon abuse the VHA in each made substantially different claims about why I was treated this way. One claim was, “…the staff at the clinic (CBOC) suffers from PTSD from an ealier incident with a rifle…” YEP – they actually accused me to my congressman and to myself of walking into the CBOC and threatening to murder people. The newspaper reported that there was a man, prior to my entry into VHA, 20 years older than I, that went into CBOC and said he had a shotgun in his car. He went and sat in his car until arrested.

    To my congressman they tried to pin that crime on me. As the newspaper reported, I neither knew the man or was anywhere near the place when that happened, but now that it has been reported, the VHA has redoubled efforts to make me go away with this CAT 2 PRF put in for administrative purposes. Look up VHA 2010-53. This practice is “strictly prohibited” and they know it because I sent them that excerpt.

    These people are dangerous. If they can pin a crime on you, they will. Just one single Restraining Order served on the abusive CBOC manager, and they claim I am a murderer, got exposed for the lies, now have concocted a new use for PRF – to gather information about a patient regardless of conduct, instead of using it to inform clinicians of potential conduct.

    Sounds like the Action T4 committee to me. It was Germanies way in WW2 to legally terminate those “whose lives weren’t worth living”. Sound like VHA to me.

    Choice card? When a federeal agency falsely and knowingly accuses a citizen and honorable veteran of attempted murder, it IS NOT THE CHOICE CARD that we need. It is a dismantling of an agency that is no longer controlled by the government, nor cares about what the press has to say. Their Choice Card makes them untouchable. The US government assumes all responsibility for any wrongdoing. That’s what thier card says.

    • Use this to your advantage. Write a detailed email with what you have said here, and email it to the Chief of Staff. Point out that you are aware of this non-contact being reported to the Chairman of the committee although it is a prohibited practice. Ask for his/her response in writing of why they have done this, and what they are doing to remove it. I would see this as a plus. Since they have issued this type of flag, look on it as several officials being notified of your concerns. At some point, you can then ask why those concerns were not addressed given that several have been notified.

      • I am writing it up as a Civil Rights and also a Privacy Act violation. Very easy to do online. I must admit, I did send my PCP a Secure Message. Keep in mind, these must all now be forwarded to the Disruptive Behavior Committee Chair.

        “Dear Dr. PCP,

        I am aware that now my 51st birthday is at hand and prudence dictates I obtain a prostate exam. I am asking for clarification of the CAT 2 PRF in my record that states all “non face-to-face contact” be reported to the DBC. For clarification, if I utter anything upon initiation of the manual prostate check, does this require you to report it to the DBC? I ask this humbly because at the moment the exam would begin we would not be face-to-face. With Respects, Your patient.”

        Did I ask the wrong thing? 🙂

  16. My, my, how a plan to provide veterans medical care in out laying areas that are a specific distance from the VA hospital or VA clinic or if those two facilities cannot or does not provide that type of medical care or if it does cannot react with a specific time frame has ballooned into such a hate for the VA and the desire to turn it into a HMO and private medical care.

    Guess I cannot see what or why some have so many problems getting care at their VA facilities. And, sorry, if you think it will be better in a private doctors office or better in a private hospital, think again. Not only is the VA having problems finding doctors to run their primary care clinics, the civilian world has the same problem, not enough GP type doctors available…everyone want to work as a specialist, reason more money.

    So stop being the problem and work to find the solutions to these problems. Problem are the results of mismanagement, big Egos, and greed.

    • If I go to the VA and get disabled for life due to an incompetent quack that should not be practicing medicine, holding those accountable is a damn site harder than if the same thing happened with a private doctor.

      • You are completely correct. I went to the VA in indy because I could barley walk without major pain and after they ordered x-rays I collapsed in the Xray room and they had to take me to the doctor in a wheelchair. The one doctor came in and examined me and grabbed my leg and gave it a squeeze, the next thing I remember is a popper under my nose and him looking very upset along with two nurses. He told me that he was going to order an emergency operation and would be right back as I was going to be admitted that day. Next thing I know in comes a completely different doctor who never looked at the notes and the info from the other VA doctors, pushed himself up against the other side of the room and looked down his nose at me and said he was not going to allow the operation. My sister was furious as I had to get her to drive me and she took me out to the waiting room and my leg collapsed on me again. She grabbed my cane and threatened to bash the doctors heads in if they so much as dared touch me. And she yelled it loud enough for everyone to hear all the way down the hall ways, that I came to them for help and they REFUSED to help me so they could kiss my a$$. And if ANYTHING happened to me because of their refusal to help, sue would see to it that the hospital and the doctors would be sued out of existence.

        Went to my personal doctor the next day and she turned white as a sheet, and ordered me to bed until I saw a neurosurgeon the following tuesday. That doctor looked at the xrays and also turned white and told me to be at a local hospital on thursday morning as I was undergoing surgery at 9am. After the surgery was over he came in an apologized to me and my mother for the time it took (over 4 hours) because he had to spend the first 90 minutes picking out bone shards. Seems there was a large shard next to my major vein in my left leg and was clearly visible on my xrays and MRI. one bump or twist or wrong move and it would have opened my vein and I would have bled to death.

        After checking with the Indiana board of medical review who said that it was a malpractice case, I tried to file charges against that doctor, and my charges were ignored as well as the doctor was allowed to retire from the VA with full benefits. And to this day I STILL cant get a reason why this was done by the VAIG or VISN11.

      • Was that doctor forced to retire? Do you know? Or did the VA allow him to retire regardless of what happened to you?
        Civilians just cannot fathom the level of incompetence, malpractice and unaccountability that goes on at the VA.

      • They kept him working in the VA and what made it worse is they made him head of the orthopedics department! So not only did he try and kill me, but he got a promotion over it. His name is Dr Moldrum. And he was the head of the Orthopedics department of the VAMC in Indianapolis Indiana. Or at least he was till he retired with a full pension.

      • The net is a wonderful thing. His name is Dr. Russell Meldrum and is still listed as an Ortho Doc at Roudebush. He at least shows an active license in IN with no complaints I could find, other than one at doctors dot healthgrove dot com from a rather pissed off Marine. From that review, you certainly get the sense he is arrogant, like far too many in the VA.
        He doesn’t show up in the USA Today bonus database.

      • Daniel,
        Why is it that you and I know that the Indy VAMC is so full of problems and yet we do not hear much about this? Another vet who also went to the VAMC has had so much trouble with them. I have talked to so many vets who say they have trouble with the VAMC. It seems to me as if someone is making sure that our problems do not see the light of day to the civilian population.
        My Dad seems to get good care from them. He met a vet in a local store several months ago and they were talking about the Indy VAMC and that vet told him that he has had so much trouble with the Indy VAMC and to top it off, that vet goes to the same team I go to. I think there is something going on here.
        f8f

      • Because the Ft Wayne VAMC used to send EVERYONE down there. All the Hospital would do is when you would come in, they would look at you and then send you to the Indianapolis VAMC. Heck the Ft Wayne VAMC sent me to Marion VAMC over 15 times to be treated for pain, only for me to get to the Marion VAMC and find out that there was no pain doctor and had not been one for over a year, yet that never stopped them from sending me there.. Finally I got ticked off and told them I would NEVER go back to Indy and the reason why. That was before Ms Detzine came. And you can ask Coats, and he will tell you that he had to start a federal investigation to get the Indy VA cleaned up and even the VAIG had to get involved. In fact one of the former Reps from Ohio (who passed away) actually had one of the Admin staff at Indy brought up on negligence charges and she was removed via the VAIG. Thats why I could not understand why that ortho creep was allowed to stay.

      • Nope, Paul Gillmore. He had a heart attack in the capitol building and fell down a flight of stairs and died of the heart attack as well as the injuries he received from the fall.

  17. I am on the Choice 1st program for a vascular surgery I need. The provider, a large healthcare hospital system who also owns large doctors groups, has found the Choice program to be riddled with too many complications that require too much time for them to deal with and don’t want to waste resources (their time) in dealing with this bullshit. They are refusing to deal with the program and not accepting the program from here out now. They told the choice people that I will be the last veteran they will accept with this stupid program.
    I myself spent hours on the phone with these stupid morons every day for three months trying to straighten their mistakes since I am a stakeholder in my care and what the program was promised to do. We all found out (me and the providers) the program was a gargantuan mess dealing with because “permission” .is needed to see every doctor I have to see to be cleared for my operation. The idiots hired by Healthnet don’t know how to handle its own business and to do it fast enough as my doctors require.
    Not that the hospital systems are staffed by the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, but nobody understands ‘request for additional services” required for each step. I feel embarrassed by the VA and the choice program, The doctor at the VA who qualified me thought he was doing me a favor. He works at the VA 2 days a week and works at a highly rated private hospital in the private sector as a surgeon and professor there. He has a 5 star rating at all the doctors rating sites on the internet. He has no idea how bad this program sucks. The VA lied to him too.
    But he will find out from me about hoe this largest hospital group in the state(60,000 employees) will not use the choice program any more.. Perhaps he will be embarrassed also.
    Nice going VA – making the whole world like you and trust you!
    Just as the NWO (New World Order) want it. Only the programs that suck will be unleashed to the world. And then FAIL> How is this douche bag gov we now have doing, folks? FAIL seems to be the “in – thing” Testing ground for one party payment system for all the American lazy bastards just down the road – coming up shortly.

    • I so wish every veteran trying to use Choice would write down their detailed experiences and mailing them to Miller on the House VA committee. It pisses me off severely to see $15 billion wasted on what is little more than incompetent phone operators and bureaucratic red tape.
      We can get that at the VA.

      • Thanks. What is Miller”s address and how do you do the salutation to him? I have NO problem with the content I will be sending him as he will hear a shitload from me and how the VA is an EMBARRESSMENT to themselves. I don’t know whether I should state exactly what hospital system by name in my first contact with him either. Suggestions?.

      • House Committee on Veterans Affairs
        335 Cannon House Office Building
        Washington, DC. 20515
        Attn: The Honorable Jeff Miller

        Provide details and documentation if possible, and yes, name the hospital, dates, times, etc.

        Ask what hearings have been held on how the Choice program has been working, and if none, why not.

        Ask him to provide statistics on how many veterans have been referred to use Choice, how many have been successful, how many doctors now refuse to participate, and how many veterans have been stuck with the bill due to incompetence,

  18. The Verbal Irony of “Veteran’s Choice”

    George Orwell’s verbal ironies found throughout his novel ‘1984’ can hardly compare to the recent public relations brain-child of the Veterans Health Administration: “Veteran’s Choice”. If you are one of the 9 million veterans under the umbrella of this program, by now your experience will have shown a convoluted & cumbersome process which comes much closer to the reality of veterans choicelessness. And if you are not a veteran and only aware of the program through news media’s occasional use of its Orwellian title, no doubt you are of the mindset that veterans health care has been improved under the aegis of the third-party, independent contractors overseeing the administration of those monies made available for veterans to receive specialist services outside of the V.A. system. Alas, dear friend, but you would be so wrong.

    Previous to the sudden incarnation of Veterans Choice, outside services were managed by the V.H.A. on a fees-based services model; for example, one’s V.A. PCP made a referral to a specialist on your behalf. This request would be channeled through a unit known as Network Authorization, and once documented & approved, the veteran could then arrange an appointment with the recommended specialist. The outside fees-based system had its flaws, chief among them being compounded time delays in actually being seen by someone. However, there was a clearly articulated process to follow, and although maddeningly cumbersome at times, eventually we could count on being seen and treated as was needed. Fees-based care worked.

    Then suddenly around mid-July of this year, veterans dependent upon these services were notified there was no longer anything in the budget, and all standing appointments or outpatient treatments were abruptly cancelled. We were told to seek care through the Veteran’s Choice program, if qualified.

    Veterans Choice, we learned, was now in charge of approving health care services; but who were they? Can you say ‘backdoor privatization’ of the Veterans Administration? A third party, for-profit company called ‘Health Net’ was placed at the administrative helm of dispensing health services for all those qualified veterans in the Western U.S.
    And suddenly, where before there was a course of clearly-delineated hoops to leap through to receive outside services, now no one could even agree what the hoops are, how many there might be, or in what order they are to be navigated. The lengthy delays and wait times experienced with the previous fees-based system, with Veterans Choice, became so protracted as to amount to a denial of services. Veterans in need of medical care have been left much worse off at the hands of these non-VA contractors. Many have succumbed to the conflict and frustration, acquired a state of learned helplessness, and ceased seeking out the vital care they require.

    This has been most convenient for the prevailing veterans administration, reeling and on the ropes from the exposure of one egregious scandal after another. The creation of Veterans Choice as an entity existing outside of their administration acts as a convenient buffer to deflect criticism from their agency. If more veterans are suffering, if delay times increase, if it’s next to impossible to have treatment approved, if more veterans die as a direct consequence, hey, don’t blame them! Blame Veterans Choice.
    The secondary benefit of creating this fall-guy go-between group is the neo-con’s wet dream of taking initial steps toward total privatization of this federal bureaucracy in the future. In fact, I have had several VA staffers confide to me that they believe that is precisely what lies in store, and they are nervous about their job security.

    Numerous phone exchanges with employees of Health Net elicit a predictable result: no two persons have the same answer to the same question. Everyone is on a different page. No one can explain or describe the steps or order of the process to receive authorization or approval for services. In short, no one there knows what is going on well enough to provide callers with a clear description of how this is all supposed to work. Subsequently, it is not working, and once again it is the veterans who have earned these services,—now often urgently needed,—who must suffer and pay the price. Haven’t we paid enough, America?

  19. Veterans Choice isn’t…the Veterans No Choice, No Care Program would be more accurate.

    I have PTSD and various physical issues, no personal transportation and no family to drive me anywhere. I won’t tell anyone VA health care was wonderful before Veterans NoChoice; I went through years of going from one facility to another trying to get someone to listen to me “something’s wrong, I need help” before a buddy clued me in to go to a veterans services officer for help with the system which resulted in the VA being forced to take me seriously. After the PTSD was diagnosed, under the old actual VA-provided fee basis outsourcing program, I was told my eligibility was such that they would pay for anyone I wanted to see in my community. Unfortunately I did not fit well with the only mental health practitioner here who takes patients with PTSD –it sometimes happens, every mental health care practitioner knows it, there’s no problem ending therapy and seeking a different therapist in such cases in the real world– but was told by the fee-basis mental health eligibility coordinator to simply call if I found someone else nearby. I found someone yesterday, but everything’s changed under the new program.

    Now, I am not eligible for anything at all because there is a clinic 20 miles away. I know about the clinic, but I go to a different clinic 60 miles away due to my PTSD. It doesn’t matter to Veterans NoChoice that the closer clinic is physically configured in a way that makes it impossible for me to set foot in it without being triggered. I got this news today from the VA mental health outsourcing coordinator himself –my ONLY option now is to go to someone at the main VA hospital. It also doesn’t matter that I already tried that. I have been having problems lately and had called the Veterans Crisis Line a couple weeks before I found the new local therapist I want to see; the Crisis Line sent in a referral that had me talking to a therapist at the VA hospital quite soon after that. After two appointments the VA hospital therapist’s solution was to 1) put me on medication and 2) put in a referral for a ridiculous class that would “teach you not to mind so much when people do something to harm you”. An added irony is that I am eligible for medical transport to class, and they are happy to pay for two 3 hour round trips per week for several weeks once the class starts (I have no idea when that is going to be), but they won’t give me transport to the Vet Center closest to me where I could get help because “The Vet Center is VA, but it doesn’t count”.

    Isn’t that just dandy. I have medical transport to VA appointments, but I can’t get transport to a Vet Center when things are so bad I am calling the Crisis Line, I can’t get transport to OR appointments with an outside therapist because a clinic I can’t go to is closer than their limit, but I can get transport to a nitwit class way up at the main hospital. Oh yes, I got another option today. Request more appointments with the VA therapist who first asked about stressors and then when I did talk some about them blatantly dismissed what I said and tried to drug me out instead.

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