VA Choice Program A Failed Joke Says Senator

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Veterans Choice Program

Benjamin KrauseLast Friday, GOP Sen. Mark Kirk admitted the VA Choice Program is a failed joke in a letter to Secretary Bob McDonald despite attempts to fix it.

How is it that all attempts to fix VA require additional efforts to fix the fixes? Talk about job security where contractors and employees are added to the payroll to fix the problems created by deficient employees no one can fire.

RELATED: Jon Stewart Nails It On VA Choice Program Absurdity

OIG INVESTIGATES VA CHOICE PROGRAM PROBLEMS

Sen. Kirk’s remarks were in response to an OIG report indicating Colorado Springs VA failed to add 56 veterans to the Veterans Choice List (VCL). Addition to the list would allow those veterans to access non-VA health care. Just getting added to the list is taking months, which ameliorates the benefit of speedy access to health care the program was intended to confer.

In a letter to Secretary Bob McDonald, Sen. Kirk wrote:

“I consistently hear reports that the Department of Veterans Affairs is delaying the process of veterans’ requests to use the Choice Act, delaying the approval of provider participation in Choice, and delaying payments to participating providers.”

VA CHOICE PROGRAM UNDERCUT

The agency has grossly hindered any attempts to increase accessibility to non-VA care the program was intended to provide. Many veterans believe VA insiders are attempting to undercut the VA Choice Program to redirect funds while ensuring veterans are stuck in the system.

RELATED: VA Choice Program Reversal Increases Access

Previous claims from anti-veterans rights supporters claimed veterans did not want non-VA care and pointed to the lack of usage of the program as evidence. We now know the lack of use is really the result of sabotage within the agency to harm veterans by withholding care for private agendas.

Sen. Kirk continued his letter:

“Given the VHA’s demonstrated inability to provide even basic care, let alone comprehensive services, I find it particularly disappointing that VHA continues to stymie the private sector’s attempts to address veteran patient needs.”

THROW OUT THE BATHWATER?

Perhaps this is an instance where we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Here, the baby is likely the special interest of union employees and big bonus receiving health care executives.

When is it time to rock-n-roll with that bathwater?

Source: http://dailycaller.com/2016/02/06/gop-senator-vas-choice-program-still-obviously-a-failed-joke/

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Don Karg
Don Karg

02/09/2016

Dear Benjamin Krause,

The Court papers are something to view.

The Cocktails remain the same and the treatments are not available [Waiting Periods being shuffled].

The engagement and integration throughout the system is not seen.

That is why this Choice Program is a Joke and Attorneys throughout this nation call the whole damn thing a “Sad Joke.” But is not a “Sad Joke” it is Treason at its best and few utter the word boldly.

Enjoy the read,

Sincerely,

Don Karg.

02/05/2016
Daily Caller News Foundation
VA Chief Of Opiate Safety Charged In Drug Deaths Of Three
Photo of Luke Rosiak
LUKE ROSIAK

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2016/02/05/va-chief-of-opiate-safety-charged-in-drug-deaths-of-three/#ixzz3zed8Qt5F

A Department of Veterans Affairs hospital hired a doctor as its chief of opiate safety shortly after his privileges were suspended in another state, when 35 patients died of drug issues in his care.
Dr. John K. Sturman Jr. was hauled out of a VA meeting in handcuffs in August and charged with three counts of homicide and 16 felony counts of issuing invalid prescriptions.
The VA hospital in Danville, Illinois, had hired the pain doctor in April, 2015, after the dozens of deaths, which occurred in Indiana, and despite the fact that he lost his privileges in Indiana in 2012, and had been reprimanded for his use of opiates in California in 2003.
Fifteen patients died of overdose or toxicity within a month of receiving treatment from him between 2009 and 2012, according to charging papers that say he “recklessly killed another human … by writing and/or issuing prescriptions.”
He allegedly had a pattern of giving obvious drug addicts frequently-abused drugs without medical cause, and billing the charges to Medicaid.
The VA hospital tasked him with implementing its “Opiod Safety Initiative.”

VA has not informed any of the 96 veterans being treated by him for pain management of the charges, and says it didn’t know about prior discipline, which was easily discoverable on Google.
The arrest stemmed from an investigation by Indiana’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, indicating he was billing taxpayers for the abuse of heroin-like drugs.
Although both California and Indiana had problems with his prescribing practices, the VA was comfortable with them, finding that “Dr. Sturman did diligently implement OSI,” despite finding that five of his cases were “complex” due to “challenges involved in management of care.”
That is despite one veteran filing a complaint with the VA saying, “He gave me pain meds that didn’t help my pain and made me addicted to the pain meds … Since this happened the VA has done nothing to make sure I am okay,” he said. “I just can’t wait until I get Social Security so I never have to be seen by the careless doctors at the VA.”
Sturman has resigned from the VA, and in his absence vets can’t be seen for pain treatment at the facility and are bounced back to their primary care doctors, the VA said.
Charging papers lay out a litany of examples in which Sturman was allegedly giving opiates to plainly drug-seeking addicts, with little evidence of actual medical need, and billing taxpayers via Medicaid for the opiates.
A medical review of one of the deceased, for example, found “a prescriptive pattern of high dose polypharmacy for purposes of addiction and not for the treatment of chronic pain. Addiction behaviors, substance abuse and alcoholism are clearly documented in the chart, but Dr. John Sturman continues to prescribe methadone, Dilaudid, and Valium without a legitimate medical purpose.”
“Sturman demonstrates willful blindness with the continued prescriptive use of high dose methadone,” a doctor who reviewed the deaths says in charging papers. “There is no evidence that Dr. John Sturman considered psychiatric or substance abuse counseling as part of the treatment plan. The treatment plan is entirely opiate centric.”
To another patient who died, Sturman had given 81 prescriptions in two and a half years.
To a third patient, described as a 250-pound female welfare recipient with a history of drug abuse, he gave large doses of opiates, even though she never showed up for months of appointments and, when she did, her urine showed illegal drug use.
Sturman was willing to prescribe “multiple high dose opiates based on subjective patient complaints and without additional medical evaluation,” the review said. “Opiates plus methadone plus benzodiazepine is recognized as a street popular and lethal combination of prescription medication. It is not a medically legitimate regiment.”
Googling Sturman’s name before hiring him would have immediately alerted VA hiring managers to his past opiate safety problems. A top search result for his name is a 2003 listing in the LA Times’ “Bad Docs” section that says he “failed to obtain supporting documentation for conditions producing chronic pain, and failed to document a treatment plan for the patient’s addiction to a Schedule IV controlled drug. Disciplined via public letter of reprimand.”
Sturman was unemployed from July of 2012 until February of 2014, which also could have been a red flag to VA hiring managers for a field with high demand for doctors’ services. The VA has a severe shortage of doctors, and claims that the reason is that it takes a long time to hire them because of an extensive vetting process.
Stulman lost his admitting privileges in 2012, and in 2013, Indiana’s licensing renewal process flagged him for further review because he answered “yes” on a form asking whether he had been recently disciplined.
Yet VA’s hiring process failed to catch him in a similar manner.
“At the time Dr. Sturman was hired, the National Practitioner Database (NPDB) and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) were clear with no actions,” the VA wrote to Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk. “VAIHCS was not aware that he was under federal investigation nor was he ever under investigation by the Department of Veteran [sic] Affairs.”
This statement is odd since Sturman was under state investigation, not federal.
The charges carry decades in prison. He made bail of $60,000 in Indiana and his trial was set for October 2015. But a judge recused himself because of a conflict of interest, and the trial was postponed.
Now, Sturman could get off lightly because of a controversial interpretation of the five-year statute of limitations. On December 11, a judge dismissed the three homicide charges and all but six of the 16 felony drug charges.
One of the patients died on August 6, 2010, one day under five years from when he was arrested on August 5, 2015. The other two whose deaths he is charged in died in December 2011.
But the judge appeared to conclude that since he started prescribing them before their deaths, the statute of limitations should begin on that date. Whereas someone can be charged with murder even if the victim doesn’t die of the injuries until years later, for homicide, the statute is based on whether the defendant’s actions “commenced.”
In prosecutors’ view, Sturman’s prescription practices were “but one continuous crime.” The state of Indiana filed an appeal last month.
The dangerous doping up of veterans, seemingly because it is easier than dealing with the causes of their conditions, has been a major issue at other VA facilities, including Tomah, Wisc. — where a top doctor was known as the “Candy Man” — since well before VA hired Sturman.
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TheDCNF reported last month that the director of Sturman’s hospital was found by VA headquarters to have rarely come in to work, and to have threatened to fire a subordinate for reporting that, but that civil service rules prevented Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson from firing him, so Gibson paid him more than $100,000 to resign.
“As Chairman of the subcommittee that oversees federal funding for the VA, I will not rest until we end the culture of corruption at the VA,” Kirk told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Here in this case you see quickly that the County gets involved deeply [the prosecutor]
This Doctor was dishing out the “Tomah Wisconsin Cocktails”—6 different types of Opiates and the Speed and the Muscle relaxers [April 2014 filing]. Obviously leaving a trail of Death were ever he went [35 Ill, 15 IN, ?? in CA]—One Doctor—50 kills.

namnibor
namnibor

You asked, “When is it time to rock-n-roll with that bathwater?”

Pretty soon but I predict that does not happen anytime soon.

Why?

Because the VA has already quite quickly figured out “The Choice Act” is a HUGE cookie jar of a$$et$ always there for the plucking. No one is holding the VA’s face against the wall, demanding accountability aggressively and we have already seen the recent song and dance that the VA calls accountability….NOT.

Wait for it….I predict the VA will very soon want to steal say a few Billion MORE from Choice or even go as far as asking Congress for a few Billion MORE FROM CHOICE very soon.
Why, you may ask?
I predict the VA will use the Zika Virus as an excuse just as they did this time, same station last year, but they used the Hepatitis C Drug as an excuse then….and since the VA probably just saw that the CDC is asking for about $2 Billion additional funding to fight the Zika Virus…I can only logically predict the VA is not far behind with hands open again…wait for it.
So no, I do not see the baby getting thrown out with the bathwater (Choice Act) anytime soon and never mind that outside providers are either not getting paid or being asked for delayed payment…all an orchestrated mess and job security by keeping Vets from timely care…scary circus music fades-in and out………..soup of the day is a “Steeped Veteran Bath Water Carefully Crafted Choice Act Gumbo”.

namnibor
namnibor

I should add that we Veterans are the “shrimp” in that “Gumbo”. No Bob, I did NOT say “Dumbo”…clean out those ears and get back to whatever you were not doing 🙂

crazy elf
crazy elf

@namnibor
Did you hear where Shinazi, the doc who took over the VHA portion of VA, RESIGNED on, I think, Feb 1st or 2nd.
Because the Congressional Committee wanted answers over that HEP-C “miracle drug” he allegedly came up with. And sold to a drug company for millions of $$$$! All while he worked with VA equipment and on VA property, allegedly for just a few hours a day.
He didn’t last long at all as the new “Chief in Charge”, did he?
I found that on
“military dot com” yesterday.

I also have a feeling VA (McDonald or Gibson) will be back in front of Congress looking for BILLIONS of taxpayer’s monies within the next 60 days. If not sooner.

crazy elf
crazy elf

P.S.
Where is all this “diverted monies” going?
I have a theory. It’s NOT going within the halls of VA! Therefore, it’s NOT going anywhere which will help veterans!

namnibor
namnibor

I ha not read that until today about Dr. Shinazi’s resignation. I guess when Pleading The Fifth is **just not good enough**, you make a hissy-fit and resign….but still collect Million$ from your VA Developed Drug that he sells back to VA for top dollars??!

Amazing, simply amazing.

@crazyelf- Pretty sure VA Trolls are posting on yesterday’s article and one of the two is not so obvious, asking where you live and your local newspaper…something seriously stinks in the wood pile over there and I called one of the more obvious VA Trolls out over there towards end of posts….do not feed the trolls.

subordinateblog
subordinateblog

Some thing needs fixen

James
James

The choice program is contractors two months still no reply.except to tell me someone will contact me probably the disruptive committee.

Daniel Gray
Daniel Gray

Hmm, a joke? Naaa I call it what it is, a clusterf**k!

Card says that you have to call before using it, or that the VA will not pay for the doctor or hospital visit. So I guess that means if I am having a heart attack I have to call the VA BEFORE the ambulance?

Card says the VA has the right to refuse payment. Ok then why in the he!! did you give it to us to use if you can refuse to pay for this?

Card says that you have to call in five to seven working days to make the appointment BEFORE the card can be used or again the VA can refuse to pay for it. Ok if something serious is going to happen five to seven working days from now, I am going to be at the hospital to make sure that we do everything we can to prevent it, and not worry about the VA. Jeeze who writes this stuff up?

And the best and funnest thing about the card? It has VA all over the bloody thing front and back. So you think its from the VA right? WRONG! You call the telephone number on the card to activate it and they freely tell you that the issuers of the card are NOT connected with the VA or a part of the VA . So call me stupid, but of they are not connected with the VA or part of same, then what in the he!! are they doing issuing VA cards?

As I said, a clusterf**k.

namnibor
namnibor

You got that right, it is a “cluster ****”, and engineered with tons of red tape in a complex spider web in a way only the VA could muster up.

crazy elf
crazy elf

I understand McCain had something to do with the original bill. I believe that answers our VA’s “Cluster Fμ€k”!

crazy elf
crazy elf

Yea. I gave two newspapers here in Florida. Hope “Sunshine” isn’t. If s/he is, oh well, good luck finding me lmao!

91Veteran
91Veteran

The Choice card is administered by HealthNet, and the VA told me they consider HealthNet to be a third party payer for any Choice appointments, so the VA could care less if you are getting treatment or not, or getting billed.
When I called HealthNet yesterday, I was told they are Veterans Choice, which has nothing to do with HealthNet. She claimed Veterans Choice acts as the middle man between VA and HealthNet.
This was a disaster from the word go because Congress wrote the legislation simply as a way to make it appear they are doing something for vets.

namnibor
namnibor

Congress giving the VA a blank check/fund transfer and expecting the VA to “do the right thing” is also insane. Our President stated he had FULL FAITH in VA Sec. and The VA to “do the right thing”.
Define “thing”, please?

Sad to hear of these nightmares you all or most at least, are dealing with. That would stress me out beyond belief wondering if the VA was going to pay the bill timely, then get sent to collections, and then to try to make one’s credit upstanding, pay the damn bill, then the VA finally pays Healthnet, Veteran tries to get $$$ out of pocket that the VA was supposed to pay, the VA says “Prove it”! Can see it already.

Doing a quick google search again shows nothing positive about this Medicaid/Obamacare Meat Mill of a company.

Using these low-grade middlemen companies to “administer/ration Choice” is like trusting Bernie Madoff to your savings while he is in prison…to do the right thing.
Lots of oxymoronic head-spinning cluster f***, yes it is.

Sunshine
Sunshine

To anyone who is reads this can you give me your name of Local Newspaper because I want to find out if I can put I need in Classified ADS how to improve Veterans Healthcare. ……Semper Fi Thanks.

crazy elf
crazy elf

@Sunshine
My two local newspapers are;
1.) “The Daytona Beach News Journal”

2.) “The Orlando Sentinel” out of Orlando, Florida

Sunshine
Sunshine

crazy elf Thanks. ….SEMPER FI Stay Healthy.

Arnold Cabral
Arnold Cabral

Have you crazy elf have you put your belief in your newspaper about your feelings about how to improve Veterans Healthcare. ….Semper Fi.

Timothy
Timothy

Daily Courier Prescott, Az.

How come I keep getting bills from providers that Choice sent me to for treatment, stating its been over 90 days with no payment so I’m responsible for it now. There goes my Credit Rating again due to the VA, for the Second, Third and Fouth time.

Sunshine
Sunshine

Timothy i know for a Fact you can place a Classified AD in the Daily Courier i did its not expensive. ….please reply back. ….SEMPER Fi liived in Prescott Valley, Arizona i go to PRESCOTT VETERAN MEDICAL FOR MY HEALTHCARE NEEDS.

James
James

Nice scam.forcing veterans to go back to the VA.by not paying the Bill’s.

I bet the VA will continue not to pay and veterans will have no choice.but to go to the VA.

And the VA keeping a list of all veterans that used the choise program and report those veterans as being disruptive.so they can punish them for using outside doctor’s.

Look at what they have done to veterans so far.I put nothing passed them.

Sunshine
Sunshine

DID YOU GET MY MESSAGE Timothy.

91Veteran
91Veteran

I have been carefully noting what the VA and Choice says regarding billing because I fully expect to get billed if I ever get an appointment. Choice blames providers for not properly billing, so they go after the easy money which is veterans. I am told by the VA that it is up to the veteran to contact the provider and Choice to make sure the billing is coded properly.
That is bullshit. If Choice has provided an authorization number and the provider has that, then Choice should be paying the bill without hesitation. As it is, the VA claims Choice reviews the authorization before approving it, then claims Choice delays payments because they are reviewing it again. There is no need for a second review of they authorized it in the first place.
Do as I mentioned above and write up your experience with Choice and mail it to Miller. Provide copies of the authorization from Choice, copies of the bill, and copies of any letters from collection agencies.
There is no reason why political cronies should be pocketing billions while veterans are forced to pay for their own care.

Arnold Cabral
Arnold Cabral

Timothy do you work for Daily Courier which Veteran Medical Center you used Prescott, Phoenix, or Tucson hopefully you as Veterans can hooked up to Give these Politicians Hell.

Matt Sherwood
Matt Sherwood

I have been waiting since May of 2015 for Healthnet to pay for an MRI that I was authorized to have, now the hospital is coming after me. This program is a joke, I was authorized 26 chiropractic appointments with the same program. My chiropractor now refuses to see me until he gets paid from the 1st 5 appointments.

namnibor
namnibor

@Matt

You should contact your Congress Representatives and your local news and main stream news about your situation. I would contact Rep. Miller, whom is on Congressional Veterans Committee….does not matter in this case if you are one of his constituents in Florida, Rep. Miller being on the Congressional Veterans Committee makes him open game to each and every Veteran. Hope that helps.

I know all that fine print on the “Choice Card” makes it about 5 ways the VA can refuse payment…and add a 6th…just because.

91Veteran
91Veteran

Write up your Choice experience in as detailed a way as possible and mail them in a letter to Jeff Miller with a copy to your Congressman.

The Government Accountability Office will be conducting an investigation into the Choice program starting this spring, and as many veterans as possible need to send them their comments so Congress knows what a disaster it has been.
Several Senators and Congressmen have requested that investigation because they have been hearing from their constituents on how bad it is.

NamVet1969
NamVet1969

VA’s governmental bureaucracy is too entrenched and rigid to change, and, will remain this way as long as it, and, its unions, are isolated from free market forces.

Alan Cote
Alan Cote

I learned today that 2.4 Billion dollars were taken from VA to help Syrian refugee’s displaced in their civil war. Our government is paying them to come here and giving them Walmart gift cards to help them buy furniture and clothes.

js03
js03

You hit it on the nose.

Dump the Unions and you will solve most of the problem. Once they can fire people for cause, accountability will improve.

Unions protect their own, not the Vets, they don’t fight for the taxpayer who foots the bill, they get the deal and then look away. They cant lose their jobs.

Andrea
Andrea

I have a low number of specialty providers in my area, even lower that accept Choice Program, but they would take the old Fee Basis. My massage Therapist is still waiting for their first 12 payments, but they won’t deny me treatment because of that, thankfully.

Timothy
Timothy

Good to hear you even got your approved. After going to a massage therapist for a while under Fee-Basis, Choice has turned my many request by my physician down because they say it now has to go to a licensed Physical Therapist which we all know won’t just do massage. They state there are no Massage Therapist in Network but I found after calling, that’s not the issue as much as they won’t approve licensed massage therapist unless they are innetwork physical therapist. This is a joke. I have had nothing but problems with this system since they went from feebasis to Choice, Choice Champion, Tri-West, and all the other departments they spend there money on now to help Fee basis which don’t work.

Sunshine
Sunshine

RIGHT ON Timothy Choice Card is a waste of money and time.

Bruce Wallace
Bruce Wallace

I don’t know what the Senator is complaining about, the Choice Program works great for me, uh, well, okay. Only because I choose not to go to the VA for anything anymore. This is because the Disruptive Behavior Committee and List system works so well too, and they use it to F with vets to cut their work load down knowing many of us will do the same thing I did, as in NEVER GO BACK TO THE VA FOR ANYTHING OR ANY REASON.

The VA is ran by sneaky evil bastards from the top down, it is socialized medicine at its finest, which is why it blows!

Signed, a 100% service-connected disabled vet.

Ovez Japanwalla
Ovez Japanwalla

Same here. Northport VAMC, seems upset with me , FOIA- Financials, personal audit, submitted to VOIG , Director resigns, ( actually transferred) Chief Information Officer Retires. Now, Wilkes-Barre VAMC, October 2015, seeking Homeless Assistance, VA Police kind enough to ride the elevators with me, kept my car safe in parking lot.
Soon, going to spread my charm with Philadelphia VAMC. Any advice?
Hey, anybody else feel like a Targeted Individual ?

James
James

1 in a million.can’t even get them to call back with an appointment.

I wish they would let me see everyone on the outside.but so many stories of the VA not paying and the veterans stuck fighting the VA to pay and after you call and call they will get pissed off and report you to the disruptive committee for complaining.

Just do away with it and let veterans see whom ever they want and cut off the middle man the VA.

I bet the VA has harmed more veterans than helped.clinics.hospital and regional office.

What did you do to be reported disruptive, me nothing. 0. And they know it.but punished me anyway. What proof did they use.were there any written evidence.

91Veteran
91Veteran

I read today the article in the Colorado Springs Gazette about the delays in care there. Right after reading it I called Senator Cory Gardner’s office and asked for his veterans affairs case manager. Based on that call, I have written up my experience with delayed care here in western Colorado, and in the lack of care using the Veterans Choice program. The Choice program is a giant disaster with no oversight by Congress, but Congress is finally waking up.
I was authorized by the VA to use Choice because they don’t have a neurosurgeon on staff at my VA. 34 days after reporting shooting pain down my legs caused by limping from knee replacement surgery, I am still waiting on Choice to approve the referral and make the appointment. The VA approved the need for Choice, then Choice decides whether the veteran needs the appointment which is ridiculous. I have called HealthNet repeatedly since January, and repeatedly get excuses. The VA doesn’t care because they believe I am getting care through Choice. It doesn’t matter how long it takes.
I still believe the funding for Choice was a payoff to Nancy Pelosi and California. HealthNet is big in California and is part of their ObamaCare exchange. George Miller retired from Congress in 2014 and is now an executive with HealthNet. He has been close to Pelosi for many years.
HealthNet had been sanctioned by the government in the past, but they must have had the right connections to get billions more from Congress for Choice,
The only Choice veterans are getting are choosing to keep calling and getting excuses, from the VA, from HealthNet and from Congress.
But I may be just bitching because Beanie Baby says her husband gets good VA care.

yesIcompainloudly
yesIcompainloudly

I was approved for choice 1st program back in July for vascular surgery on my carotid artery. As you know, Healthnet is the company contracted by the VA to administer the program. Healthnet , which is a private company that does work for the Federal Government (they do Medicaid programs for states too) and is considered to be one of the top 10 worst companies in the U.S. (in company with Time Warner Cable and Comcast) for shitty customer service, went ahead and staffed their call centers with people hired off the street with hardly any training in anything – just told to read off statements prepared for them by the VA to anyone that calls the toll free number – veterans or providers.
It was a living hell for me because they botched up my “request for additional services” called into them by my main surgeon’ staff to be checked out (cleared) prior to the surgery by various cardiologist and cath lab procedures. I was on the phone just about every day for about 5 months talking, yelling and cussing them out for being such royal fuck-ups. I was a mean, nasty bastard to them and still am – as I am still straightening their dumb asses out. I don’t even start with the rep. – I ask for the “supervisor of the shithouse” the second someone takes my call. I tell them what retards they are and I tell them I want to speak to the head turdball there. Then I dump on them like a madman.
My blood pressure was raised in that I have to double my BP meds, and I intend to file for fucking compensation for that. All the VA doctors at my VA hospital know how much “Choice” SUCKS by now because they have been hearing this from ALL the veterans they approved for Choice. My non-VA provider, a humongous healthcare system, will not accept Choice anymore – I was the first one on that program with them , and they told Healthnet I will be the last one. They will, however, accept fee-basis from the VA.
The president and executive staff of Healthnet, meanwhile, are rolling in $$ by “administering” the program. The VA is just now hearing from thousands of people like me ( and I hope you too) what a failure Choice really is. I was told by a “non-VA program” worker who was put on special duty to handle “complaints” that the VA has given Healthnet a couple of weeks to straighten everybody’s “mess” out or their contract will be terminated with the VA. We will see what happens. As for me, I call them every day to tell the supervisors what shit brains they are.
I thought I would throw a little of my adventure out there for you – and to expect the same.

James
James

You have a right to be mad.please be aware if you should contact the VA with your concerns.

Make sure you don’t get your blood pressure up.the VA is quick to say you were disruptive and then your blood pressure will really go up.

Some veterans don’t have to do anything and they were reported as being disruptive and punished and the VA does not care How you feel.

This program was doomed from the start.it was the VAs plan.so they can say told You so.

Just be aware there are employees that will make you seem unstable and once your reported the disruptive committee will punish you.they don’t need evidence.their word is good enough !

Do away with the VA.there’s going to be a lot of farm jobs opening up soon.then the VA employees can complain to the farmer.

91Veteran
91Veteran

I won’t say I am happy to hear of your problems with HealthNet, but I am happy to hear you are holding them accountable.
I have read a number of stories about how bad they are in paying claims in the civilian world and how bad their customer service is.
I seriously despise a company like that taking so much money from the taxpayers, then screwing those same taxpayers. Given their history, I cannot fathom how such a company with such a poor track record EVER got another contract with the government other than political connections. So far I’ve only seen the connection between George Miller and Pelosi. I would like to know if there are more politicians blatantly screwing veterans.

crazy elf
crazy elf

Hey everyone.
My wife sent this article to me. It’s full of “drug abuse by VA employees”, “drug charges against VA employees”, giving heroin to elderly veterans “to speed up their death”, and much, much more! It’s definitely worth googling;

“Board reverses firing of another VA executive”
by Jazz Shaw

Also, when y’all Google this. There’s a bunch of reports by different individuals concerning this. If you’ll send this to Ben, I’d be grateful!
Maybe Beenie Baby can explain this one!

crazy elf
crazy elf

I will not respond to Beenie Baby. She evidently is a Democratic Liberal.
She also is not researching the many reports coming out from many news sources. Which include military sources, VA-OIG, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Denver Post, Los Angeles Times, VAWatchdog dot org, DAVReform dot org. and many more! She also referenced these “sources” as not being reputable!

She also “claims” the numerous “veterans suicide rate…” (22 each day) cannot be blaimed entirely on the VA. Which I somewhat agree with! Yet, what is causing all these vets to take their own lives?

Go to yesterdays blog to read the things she’s written!

James
James

I think elf many veterans take their lives by the VA not treating them.maybe are $1 over the limit to qualify for care.

Told they must be service connected for treatment.regional office denying their claim.making them feel like liers.
Calling them drug seekes.their lazy.why don’t you just kill yourself.

If veterans don’t know the secret word.I feel suicidal. If they don’t say I’m suicidal.the VA will make an appointment and send them on their way.

Were will the homeless get their appointment.no address.so what to do.

I’m in pain.um fill no one cares.um the VA blew me off.um I’m alone.

Um the VA got me hooked on oxy and cut me off cold Turkey.um death sounds pretty good.they say I’m not worth anything.

Probably a lot more ums!

namnibor
namnibor

My favorite of Beenie so far is where she infers that “…Veterans CHOOSE to be Homeless…”, and while there is a % of any Homeless Populace that may well ‘choose’ to live totally off the grid, this is NOT true at least 90% of time. I have kept quiet and watched you all feed the troll….but since you mentioned something over here, I had to let out my inner steam about her generalized comments…almost in like she and hers are doing okay, so all is wonderful in Wonderland. Rose colored glasses are SO not in during Winter months….LOL 🙂

crazy elf
crazy elf

@namnibor & James
Did y’all Google the article I gave here? It’s brand new? I think it said Jan. 29th 2016!
The article even “talks” about how Gibson will not be sending her back to her position. Unless the judge orders it.
Y’all gotta read it. Read a couple of the articles. Each one has a little different spin.
You’ll love the mess VA got themselves into on this one!

Don
Don

Every program initiated by the VA fails! Sound programs cannot be effectively implemented by VA employees! Veterans are held hostage for medical care that benefits VA staff, VA Doctors and VA researchers! Give Veterans the liberty to obtain medical care privately rather than facing delays and death at the hands of the VA.

Todd B
Todd B

The worst part of this who thing is that I have had issue with the veterans Choice program and Senator Mark Kirk is my Senator from my state of Illinois. I have tried to get hold of him via phone calls and emails and have never gotten a response from him or his office. I luckily or unluckily have got a response from my congressman office. The issue that they state is that The VA Choice program is not monitored o or have any oversight from any entity except themselves so what are they going to do provide the least amount of service and get the most money that they can from the VA. So they program needs a total overhaul and the bill needs to be rewritten.

yesIcomplainloudly
yesIcomplainloudly

That’s RIGHT. Healthnet is administering this fucked up program with no oversight from anyone. The VA is just now assessing all the complaints coming into them from veterans on the program, and of course, the VA has NO ANSWERS for the veterans because they know LESS than the veterans on how this AIN’T working for anyone. By the way, senators (small s) do not respond to veterans in most any state. Representatives do so because they have to act like they are closer to the people in their district and they will be your “listening ear” for all your problems. Know what? Our government doesn’t work anymore. That’s what.

91Veteran
91Veteran

In some respects, I think senators are listening a little closer now to vets than they used to. I think McCain, and senators in Wisconsin found out how quickly things can go sideways on them when a VA scandal breaks publicly, and vets start reporting they had contacted a senators office about problems and never heard from them.
When I called my senators office yesterday and asked for his vets affairs case manager, she sounded rather concerned about what I was telling her about the HealthNet/Veterans Choice fiasco, and sounded at one point as if she had been told lies by the VA about what I was telling her.
She was the one who offered to do an inquiry to the VA on my behalf if I wanted, but I said I wanted her to hold off until I found out whether the VA would provide an MRI.
Since I have emailed her a detailed timeline on contacts with HealthNet, I will forward an update to her when I call them again tomorrow.
Will it get results? I don’t know. I have forwarded the same details to reporters covering the Colorado Springs wait list that has just been uncovered.

James
James

Good luck.my experience is people will be glad to forward complaints to different agencies for the veterans.but that’s all that gets done.

They return it to the very people doing the harm and those employees answer their own inquiries.even when they are the problem.

Told by senators Bennett’s office.we can ask questions.but cannot do an investigation or force the VA to complete an investigation.

The director of the Denver vamc told his office that they never coded my official medical records for disruptive behavior and they never red flagged my official medical records and they never completed an investigation.

The senators office had all the records showing they did punish me.but even when they lied right to their face.nothing was ever done.

The same thing happens when you go to the DAV.employees doing the harm answer any and all inquires themselves.

In fact my local DAV rep did such a good job on my case.the manager who I was complaining about and harmed me.

Hired the DAV rep and now I have another employee.I have to worry about. I don’t feel well.but I don’t want to go to the VA.knowing they will and can falsely accuse me of disruptive behavior and they don’t have to provide proof just say it.

The disruptive committee is a illegal committee punishing veterans and the veterans have no avenue to fight back.

Your guilty.not innocent until proven guilty.all civil and constitutional rights are being trampled on and the veterans have no say so.

Veterans cannot compete with people who hold the purse strings and employees know if they stay quite and look the other way.they will get a bonus.just in time for Christmas.

I’m not trump.so I can’t afford to fight an endless pit of ?.

yesIcomplain loudly
yesIcomplain loudly

I know what you are saying. It ultimately comes down to how the veteran approaches the senator’s office, how good verbally you can hang it, the type of person you happen to get on the phone, whether the senator is a Dem or Rep (Dem. senators offices will usually not want to tangle with Obama’s pick of BMcD; Rep. senator offices will listen and conduct as with you), etc. I’ll bet you are dealing with a republican senator’s office.
Anyway, the VA don’t tell these people anything. Just like everyone else it’s hard for them to believe a veteran describe just how bad the VA is in such detail. It is an eye opener to them all because it is soooo bad that it’s unbelievable what you have to say to them. Any gov. office will not admit to the blatant corruption at the VA (part of the gov.) nor can ever imagine how a company be so ridiculously terrible as is Healthnet. When I yell at Healthnet,they aren’t about to go tell VA about it. What I am doing actually is turning the very large hospital system against Healthnet. I talk to the correct people at the health system I’m using and put them in agreement with me about healthnet. In other words, they also hate healthnet, and healthnet is scared of getting “bounced” by the VA. The VA intends to create a NEW Choice program and it’s initiative is to make friends with community providers – not to hear that they won’t accept choice anymore. Healthnet is taking heat, they are hearing from the VA now because just everyone is having a bad time with this idiotic program administered by dopes.
I’d be interested in hearing how you made out with your endeavors/results. Keep us posted.

91Veteran
91Veteran

I certainly will provide an update. I will call tomorrow, then next week I will start calling daily.
Have you found it easy to get a supervisor on the phone? If I could get one on the phone I think I could rattle one enough to get them to provide some revealing information.
That has happened every time I have called so far because they get tongue tied and can’t answer my questions.
Yes it was a Republican senators office.

yes I complain loudly
yes I complain loudly

@ 91Vet: When the rep that first answers your phone call to the toll free number (of Choice), my tactic is to say something real nice like “I really like your name” or “you sound like you spent all day dealing with veterans complaints….isn’t this Choice program ridiculous? It certainly is wearing on all you reps, I could imagine”. They will then open up and be in agreement with you and in many cases will do whatever you ASK. I then ask if I can speak to the “authorization ” people and also say “a supervisor would be the person that can straighten out my mess. I spoke to xxx yesterday and want to follow up. (I make up a name – they have no idea I’m BS’ing them because they are the “telephone bank” people) They ALWAYS put me on with the higher level authorization people and that’s when I start getting aggressive and unforgiving and turn on my business tone of voice (no more stroking). This way I bypass the first line of people – the phone answerers – and get to the juice real fast. I see how that person’s tone is when I say I want to solve my current problem right now. I make a judgment of how mean I should get from there – sort of work towards it. I often ask if they are the supervisor, and/or insist that they put their supervisor on. I then tell them what I expect to be corrected or that I want “you to make a call to my non-VA provider ” and I give them the provider’s name and # and let them know that the provider is very “unhappy” with “you people”.
You have to put them on the spot on every call you make. The Healthnet people are getting tied up in knots with the enormous load of complaints from just about every veteran and they seem to be very pressed with the workload they created for themselves.
I hope that helps a little bit

91Veteran
91Veteran

Good answers. I haven’t worked my way to a supervisor yet, I figured I would see how many times they would give me the same BS excuse.
I may have commented on this, but I found out a few days ago that the Choice provider wouldn’t even see me without an MRI first. I called my Primary Care doc Wednesday, and they said they would submit the request, and I would get a call from radiology. I expected to wait several days before getting that call telling me I had an appointment 3 weeks from now. I had a voice mail from them last night, I called them today, and they set an appointment for Feb 26.
Something has the VA rattled because they have NEVER moved this fast before.
Now if Choice would just move and set an appointment.

subordinateblog
subordinateblog

You my friend, have style

KT
KT

You are correct in that Healthnet does not really have anyone following up on them. That it is why it is imperative that the Veterans constantly call Healthnet to make sure that they are making their appointments. Being a case manager at the VA, I am told that once a Veteran is switched over to a Choice Provider I am pretty much “hands off”. Well, ethically I just can’t do this because I need to make sure that my patients are being taken care of so I myself have sat on the phone with Healthnet for 1hour and 30 minutes the other day to ensure that my patient was getting scheduled properly.

Don Avant
Don Avant

RE: How is it that all attempts to fix VA require additional efforts to fix the fixes? The reason is that the VA thrives on incompetence …And the reason for THAT is civil service protections….It’s difficult to impossible to fire an incompetent worker or manager so the VA has filled up with them. AND they all protect each with such vehemence because if firing incompetents becomes easier, THEY will be out of a job…Incompetence has become a permanant feed-back loop….and the only way to fix that is to remove civil service protection.

Will Bentley
Will Bentley

While a great many Veterans have had problems with Choice, I have used it repeatedly for various ailments here in San Diego without any problems whatsoever.

I’m not saying that the VA, or Choice, or TriWest or other regional contractors, or providers, don’t have problems with Choice…only that my own experience with over 20 separate visits to two different providers has been smooth and crisp.

My providers have commented, when I asked them specifically, that the paperwork to/from the VA is painful and time-consuming for them…but I think that is probably the case for all the Government medical programs, including Tricare, Medicare, etc.

A lone voice of kudos for the program here in San Diego, and a shout out for justice for all those Veterans who have NOT received the proper VA care or have problems with Choice!

James
James

Can we asked Why you left the VA for treatment on the outside.

Gary Carriger
Gary Carriger

I have experienced the Veterans Choice Program first hand. In September of 2015 my primary care doctor determined that I had numbness and tingling of the nerves in both my right and left arms. She submitted a consult to the neurology clinic. After 30 days, October 6, 2015, I received a phone call that Veterans Choice would get me a more timely appointment. I was asked to provide the names of a couple of hand surgeons in the area.

In November of 2015 I called Veterans Choice for a status. I was informed that they had just received the VA paperwork and were attempting to find a doctor. I continued to get no positive response from Veterans Chioice.

After not hearing from Veterans Choice for another month, I called them in December of 2015 requesting a status. I was informed that the doctors names I provided did not take Tri-West Insurance so they could not use them. They said they would still keep looking, but if I wanted faster service I could use my medicare coverage and get my own doctor. The agent added that if i took that option that I would be responsible for the 20% co-pay required by the VA. I requested they still search for a Doctor that would take Tri-West.

Finally, On January 6, 2016 i was assigned a Hand Doctor in Las Vegas for an appointment on January 15, 2016 for my initial appointment.

As of today February 24, 2016, I have still I finally completed a nerve test through the neurological Department of the Las Vegas, Nevada VA determining that I do have numbness in both hands, poor circulation in two fingers on both hands, and I have Carpal Tunnel in both hand and require surgery. Today, I will meet with the outside doctor through Veterans Choice to see if he has been provided with the test results and what steps be taken next. In the mean time I am in severe pain in both hands, getting very little sleep each night (two to three hours) and becoming worried about what affects the lack of circulation will have on my hands in the future.

I have lost all hope that the VA will ever fix this mess so people with issues like me or even worse will get help and that the VA will not just let us get worse and die.

91Veteran
91Veteran

Gary, please write up a detailed explanation of this and provide it to Rep. Jeff Miller who chairs the House VA committee.
The Government Accountability Office will be investigating the Choice program this spring. Provide those comments to your Congressman and ask that they be included in the GAO investigation.
They need to hear what a massive disaster that program has been.

Tracy Molina
Tracy Molina

Thats terrible I remember the pain before my carpal tunnel surgery. The veterans choice program doesn’t always pay their bills, even ones pre-authorized. I would find a workmens comp clinic, they fo a lot of carpal tunnel cases. That is wear i got my carpal tunnel surgeries 100 percent paid for. Im so tired of the VA and the bs veterans choice program not doing their job.

Arnold Cabral
Arnold Cabral

Tracy Molina if you have something to you believe that Veterans Healthcare need to be improve telled your Congress telled them plus you must know Veterans Friends tell them to do the same….SEMPER FI

Jill Raduziner
Jill Raduziner

VA Choice is a joke! At first I thought it might be a good thing. However, trying to play by the rules and seeking medical care closer to home, I have had two cases of total frustration.
Firstly, a $171 medical bill for an office visit on a Sunday, in which case I called Veterans Choice before going. The clinic I went to “doesn’t do business with the VA”!
Secondly, a vicious circle of playing the game of setting up an appointment for my annual mammogram. Veterans Choice took my preferable dates and times, stating they would call my preferred provider who has my records from previous appointments. No call. Called back following week. Same thing.
Receive a letter from Veterans Choice stating that I need to call them to set up an appt. Repeat process.
Receive letter from VA stating that they haven’t received my results yet. Repeat process. Call VA Call Center number on letter who states did I call the number on the letter?! “Yes, I’m talking to you and that’s the number on the letter.” They put a message into my VA doctor to “reinstate the order”. Called same VA Center Call number back and I get another VA Call Center Rep. He gives me a number to a Veterans Choice “Champion”, who I call. She states she will follow up on it and get back to me within a half hour. She calls back in a hour. Finally, I get a phone call from someone who tells me to just call the outside provider (who I’ve been going to for years now) and set up an appointment and call her back to update the Portal! Ok, done, or so I thought! Veterans Choice calls me asking me if I want to set up an appointment?! I tell them I have an appointment set up, and they take the information to update “their” system and tell me they have to validate the appointment! For real?
Then, I get a voice message from VA stating that I have a question about setting up an appointment? Oh geez.
And on top of this all happening today, I get another bill from a Laboratory for a breast biopsy done in September 2016 through the outside provider for $211! I guess the place that I have my mammograms done sent my biopsy to the Lab, and I was billed for it!
The process used to be so much simpler for me. Now it seems like I have even longer wait times to set up appointments within the VA and outside the VA for my mammogram appointments which used to be so easy!

Jill Raduziner
Jill Raduziner

September 2015, not September 2016.

91Veteran
91Veteran

I kept detailed notes of every time I called Choice, which is run by HealthNet. After about 3 weeks of getting the same excuse and no appointment, I wrote an email with all those details and emailed my Congressman and Senator. At around day 45 or 50, I was told by Choice I would have to start over because the VA screwed up the consult. I emailed an update to the Congressman and Senator and asked them to inquire. I was referred to Choice January 14th, called Choice on January 19th, and finally got the appointment after the Congressional inquiry March 9th.
Keep detailed notes and keep your Congressman and/or Senator informed of what is happening. They are finally waking up to how bad Choice is…only because veterans have been contacting them.

James
James

Shut down the VA

Jill
Jill

So finally after several weeks of going round and round with even a visit to my primary VA facility, which BTW is >40 miles from my home (hence VA Choice, right – HAHA), I think I may have resolution on my bills.
It only took calling the numbers on the bills numerous times, who told me they still hadn’t received payment. I told them I didn’t want the bills going to collections, so they put the bills on hold and said they wouldn’t go to collections.
I had to make SO many phone calls to the “Non-VA Care number” the VA gave me. The ‘Non-VA Care” number was directed to the wrong VISN who “could not help me, because they could not ‘look-up’ my information unless it was in collections”. I left messages with the VA Billing, who called me back and gave me the same number for the “Non-VA Care”.
So finally I was redirected to a Patient Advocate, which is now being called a Service Level Advocate. Oh my!!!
She told that she would look into it. I had to give her the same information that I gave to her “assistant” who called me prior to “gather all of the information”! She told me to call the “Non-VA Care” number, and I told her I wasn’t getting anywhere with that!!! So frustrating!
So, needless to say, I ended up getting some information back from the Pt Advocate, but I had to call on my own behalf to the (Non-VA) medical providers and try to get everything rectified. Between the “patient advocate” (or whatever you want to call them) and my phone calls, we may have it reconciled.
The Patient Advocate called me back today and told me that for one of the bills, the VA was billing the wrong provider or “something”!!! Really? At the expense of the Veteran!
The other bill was handled, because I called the outside medical provider and gave them the “non-va billing” address to resend the bill!
Give me a BREAK!

arnieandcaroline13
arnieandcaroline13

Jill if you did War Time service called Veterans Affairs their telephone number is 1-800-8271000 if you are Diabled your eligible for Veteran Pension plus if your not their is others benefits you can get do not surrender you serve our Country. …..Ooray….Semper Fi.

91Veteran
91Veteran

Ben had a post here about the VA announcing some new 800 number for providers to call to resolve problems with Choice. The head of the Patient Advocates told me about that number a couple weeks ago because I asked him several questions about the VA paying the bills for my Choice appointment. He very clearly stated the number was for providers to call to resolve billing problems, and it was being implemented to try convince private doctors to start using Choice again.
I have not yet seen a bill, but you can bet if I do see one, I will be having a meeting with one of the 3 “Choice Champions” at my small VA, and they will be doing their jobs to resolve that billing problem.

It does not surprise me that you never mentioned these “Choice Champions”. The VA wonders why vets and providers are having these problems, yet they never tell vets and providers of these people they have hired to resolve these problems with Choice.

James
James

VA is hurting veterans

arnieandcaroline13
arnieandcaroline13

James my advice to you if you don’t like the The Veterans Choice Card first called try to asked them who passed The Choice Card to be
part of Veterans Medical Centers than voice your belief remember do it in assertive way why you don’t like them….Good Luck. …Semper Fi

Scott
Scott

I had an aggressive prostate cancer which resulted in surgery on August 25th. Thinking that my hospital bill and all other surgeon bills have been paid, I received a surprise in the mail this past Friday. I got a bill from surgeon for his services which are now 6 months old. I am scheduled to for more cancer surgery on April 12th with the same surgeon. Immediately upon receipt of the bill I was embarrassed beyond belief. How can this doctor want to handle my next surgery when he hasn’t even been paid for the first one, but this is my life at hand. So, I call my local VAMC, they said they would get right in it, but what does that mean? Am I actually going to have the surgery? Or am I going to,get a doctor totally unfamiliar with my case? Why is it taking 6 months and more for these doctors and hospitals to get paid? The money is there? So why the delays? Incompetence? I just pray to God that my cancer does not spread and take my life. But then again, I can always pay my own??? This is no way for us veterans to be treated! We gpfought for this country and this is what we are being repaid with?

arnieandcaroline13
arnieandcaroline13

Why when I make a comment on to improve Veterans Healthcare nobody answer me back ….I lwill try one more time…..How many Veterans try to called their Congressmen to filed to see if their complaint is true or not that their is part of Congressmen Job.please reply ……Semper Fi.

James
James

According to Senator Bennett’s office out of Colorado, ” This office can make an inquiry to government agency and that’s all we can do, we can not force a government agency to conduct any investigations or tell them to change anything. So our Senators office is just a catch all for complaints and hold no power to change things.

If you don’t believe me call his office and ask for Hale, his Assistant and ask him what their power of government officials is ! They can only make inquires and what ever the response is, even if it shows the agency is lieing they can not do anything about it according to Bennetts office.

Don
Don

I have experienced exactly the same thing with Rep Karen Bass and Rep Maxine waters in California. In addition their staffers have no interest in assisting veterans. In the case of of Karen Bass she voted against oversight of the VA. At one point the office of Rep. Julia Brownley had a staffer who was a veteran and tried to do more. When this returned to school, Rep Brownley office was same as Rep’s Bass and Waters.

Arnold Cabral
Arnold Cabral

Asked your Congressman not your Representative their are not the ones who makes the Laws for Veterans Healthcare even the Senators don’t make the Veteran Medical Center Healthcare Laws…..only Congress does.

Don Avant
Don Avant

James…Hate to tell you this but the House of Representatives IS part of Congress…Just saying…

Arnold Cabral
Arnold Cabral

I am going to the Daily Courier newspaper going to ad in on how to improve Veterans Healthcare. ..Semper Fi.

James
James

Don’t understand

Don
Don

The VA does not want the Choice Program to work. They want to keep captive within the VA to preserve their jobs, bonuses, etc. In comparison to most VA services, the private sector is far superior and the VA does not want Veterans to experience and compare it. Then there is the issue of medical education. At the VA, you are frequently treated by trainees from local medical schools who pay the VA to train on you. Going into the VA for surgery.? How do you feel about having a first time trainee involved in your surgery?

James
James

It just could be Bob behind the mask, doing it just for kicks.

KT
KT

Don-
I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one. The VA does want the Choice Program to work–believe me–I work for the VA and I deal with the Choice Program and Healthnet–Every. Single. Day. The concept of the program is a great idea; however, the execution is HORRIBLE! The problem is is that no one is fully educated on what everyone’s roles are. There are too many hands in the pot. I am case manager that handles the traditional non va care for patients where I get the request, I explain why the patient needs non-Va care, get the approval, make the patient an appt and get fee services to send one the authorization to the provider and it works out great! With the Choice Program, the VA person requesting the service constantly has to hassle Healthnet to contact the patient and make the appt for the patient and so on and so on. So while I definitely believe that the VA needs to come up with a better solution to this, I do not think that they want the Choice Program to fail–they just do not know how to properly implement so that it would be effective in allowing Veterans to be see quicker and closer to home.

James Stamulis
James Stamulis

Quite frankly that is baloney. They do not want it to work for they lose control over the veterans and that is why that in all the government run health care like medicare, medicaid etc the only people who get no choice for their doctors is us vets. Even my wife gets to choose her doctor because she gets champ V.A. from being my wife yet i continually am denied the choice program even though the V.A.’s own specialist that comes to the V.A. every 2 weeks recommended me to a local specialty clinic and the V.A. continually denies me that right. I have been in the V.A. system for 41 years and most major surgeries i have had done have been done thanks only to the private insurance i was lucky to have for the V.A. consistently made every excuse in the world to avoid doing what was needed. It was so bad that i went to lawyers to sue the massively corrupt V.A. only to hear some honest lawyer say what they did to me was criminal but no one will take the case because it cost so much to fight the government so please stop blowing smoke up veterans butts and the citizens who give billions of tax dollars thinking they are helping us vets. My disability is service connected and documented as such yet they want me to travel over 2 hour drive to get a chance of proper care when the specialty clinic i need and have been to before is 14 miles from my house.

James
James

2 months still waiting for choice

James Stamulis
James Stamulis

You are 100% spot on Don.

Johnathan Post
Johnathan Post

Funny, because it seems to be working. Veterans Choice covered just about every expense from my motorcycle accident last year. I had to pay for the prescriptions.. that was it. Now I’m switching primary care physicians, and within a week I get a call stating the VA couldn’t see me within 30 days, and so I’m being referred to a private physician, will all costs covered.

For a joke, it seems to be working pretty damn well for me.

Arnold Cabral
Arnold Cabral

Johnathan Post did you do War Time if you did you can get Veteran Pension if can’t work at all……..Semper Fi

Robert Whalen
Robert Whalen

The Veterans Choice Program worked expediently for me in regard to dermatological care for skin cancer. The outside provider was 3 miles from my residence, provided excellent care and was prompt on follow-up visits. Major PROBLEM though is that the provider has NOT been paid for any of the procedures or biopsies. It has been 14 months and numerous calls to VA, Tri-West and Veterans Choice. Apparently only the consultation was paid for. This doctor is owed $3,200. When contacted, each department has it’s own reasons why the claims were denied. No cohesiveness, no call backs, and passing the buck.
Therefore it seems the program is working for the VA (getting veteran care and not paying for it). It’s a win win for them. It is NOT working for the Veterans. This doctor has not billed me but in all good conscience I feel I owe him for his services.

91Veteran
91Veteran

It does seem to work well for a few veterans in some parts of the country, but is a disaster for most veterans in many parts of the country…just like the VA,

I was referred to Choice by the VA, and after 57 days of calling Choice and getting my Congressman involved, Choice finally called to schedule an appointment with the doctor the VA had referred me to.

I figure I am one of the lucky ones who used Choice. So far I haven’t seen a bill to get my credit ruined, but there are many veterans with collections agencies after them for many thousands of dollars because Choice has not paid the bill.

If Choice had been working fine, Congress wouldn’t have been raising hell recently over them paying providers in a timely manner. Many providers refused to take more veterans after getting stiffed by Choice.

Brian Carroll
Brian Carroll

Beware my friend Choice sent me to a doctor they made the appt now wont pay the 700.00 bill and i AM IN COLLECTIONS.

CONSIDER THAT WHEN USING CHOICE.

91Veteran
91Veteran

Did you pick the doctor or did Choice? If Choice picked the doctor, then Choice was aware that they had an agreement with that doctor, and as a part of that agreement, they are not allowed to bill the veteran.
We all know what reality is like though.
You need to find out if that doctor was chosen by Choice, then go to your VA and demand to see the “Choice Champion” at your VA who is supposed to help vets with Choice. Take copies of the bills, and tell them you want them to contact Choice while you wait to resolve it.
Tell them your next step is to contact your congressman to help insure it is fixed, then do it.

James
James

same here Parkview knows I have been in contact with choice, every month and get the same old story. Parkview stated we were getting ready to send it to collections. Since you have kept in touch with us, we are going to drop it back a month.

Told me they spoke with the provider caring for me and they also have not been paid. We as veterans should be able to start a law suit against the VA Choice, They are doing this because veterans wanted choice and the VA wants to get back at us, and doing so through the pocket book.

Jail is where they need to be !

Brian Carroll
Brian Carroll

James my suggestion is to call/ write your senator and congressman.
Choice is absolutely doing more damage than good to us vets,
They are responsible for ruining my perfect credit (50 years ) never been late and always paid my bills .
Let them ruin it I refuse to pay the bill choice owes.

I will die before i use the choice plan again.

sooner or later Washington will have to settle up with all of us and if someone starts a class action count me in.

Semper Fi

James
James

I am writing to scott tipton about the billing and how they can turn a veteran away when an outside doctor choice writes them. wanting a veteran to travel 400 miles for a prescription.

Undone
Undone

Received 8.5k in bills this week for approved visits via veterans choice. Pissed off doesn’t begin to describe how I feel. Those procedures were 9 to 10 months ago.

Arnold Cabral
Arnold Cabral

How many Veterans on here to put their beliefs how to improve Veterans Healthcare in their Local Newspaper and in the VFW.DAV, and American Legion Newspaper. ….please respond back. ….Happy Memorial Day.

kbear704
kbear704

Arnold, I am in the same boat. I have been receiving non stop bills for care the VA choice was supposed to cover. Some of them even went to collections. I’m having to spend time I don’t have calling around to try and get this resolved. Now I’m eligible to use VA Choice again, but they haven’t been able to find a provider that will accept the program. I don’t blame them. I had a c-section in Jan. and I just received a bill from the primary insurance company I had all last year for the surgery charge(3$800). This lets me know that the VA Choice has yet to pay the doctor. Which is probably why we can’t find a provider in this area to accept the program. I can’t blame them.

Jill
Jill

Yes, I was dealing with a VA Billing Specialist to resolve a bill that still hasn’t been paid. I finally just paid it.

Undone
Undone

I can’t afford 8.5k for services the VA approved. Not paying them is a flat out tort on their part.