Re: VA Medical Care
Been dealing with the VA since 1990 off and on and more on over the last eight years. I will say some states take much better care of their Vets than others. It's really a crap shoot when it comes to VA doctors--some are excellent and others it's amazing they can treat an abrassion. I know about fifteen years ago one VA hospital had veterans sitting in their own crap in the halls and once that was found out the government came down hard on them after pressure from the bad press. The VA has improved greatly over the last decade, but still not up to par with conventional care.
Don't be affraid to use the patient advocate located at every VA hospital if need be. Another great resource is the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) who have and will continue to fight for veterans rights since all the members are veterans. My local chapter has a handfull of WW2 vets, many Vietnam Vets, and more and more vets coming back from Operation Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflicts/wars. Most of our meetings have at least one National Service Officer on hand. Another option is your local or county veterans service offices.
Like someone else said if it wasn't for the VA I would have no healthcare at all. Which is a good and bad thing. Are you really getting the best care? Second opinions? Specialists?
Being a disabled vet myself I can say with certainty that no VA doc is going to put themselves out to help you get an increase to disability even if you need it. I showed paperwork to my primary that authorized her to write up a recommendation from the main hospital in my area and she 'passed the buck', the specialist I saw claims they "don't do it" , and one other specialist verbally agreed with me so I'm hoping once I see him again and present this paperwork he will have the courage to put it in writing.
Best of luck and thank you for your service.