My husband has been going to the VA for over 12 years and I can't praise ours any higher, as he has gotten SUPER care!!! The biggest problem is waiting, but seems everyone waits in a Drs. office.
He had cancer issues 2 years ago, in Nov. a minor heart attack which required Angioplasty and a few other problems, but they did an excellent job taking care of him. Even though he has a private Cardio guy, even he thinks the VA Drs. did a super job with hubby's care and treatment.
Good luck, and best of wishes....JJ...
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Last edited by JJ; 03-31-2011 at 03:42 PM.
Reason: As usual...spelling!
I've been going to our local VA clinic for several years. But only go once a year for a check up so I can qualify for prescriptions. My prescriptions still cost $9 each. I also got a shingles vaccination at the VA hospital in a nearby town. I've never had a problem with waiting. Usually get right in on appointment time.
As far as doctors, I have my own by using Medicare and Blue Cross.
If not for the VA I would not have any healthcare so I can't complain. The biggest obstacle for me was finding the right doctor [I]and[I] an experienced one. Some of them I first saw were just lacking experience, straight out of school. I know they have to learn but not on my spine.:
I went and was not impressed. I have a pretty good pain managment doc but thought I'd see what VA had to offer. It turned out not much. The doc didn't seem to know much, and the prescriptions that I was taking weren't available. I'm with Dupree, they can learn on someone else's spine.
On the more trivial side, parking at the DC VA is horrible, and the ladies' room I used smelled worse than a two-bit tavern or truck stop. Getting there requires going through some pretty skeevy neighborhoods. The whole experience reminded me of what one of my shipmates told me once: I have free healthcare, too bad I'm afraid to use it.
I've gone to the Washington DC VA med center. There are 4 community clinics, but I haven't been to them. One is closer to where I work, but is in a SCARY neighborhood, as opposed to merely bad one the Med Center is in. Another is in northern VA, but reasonably inconvient to both my home & work. Since we are proudly #1 for the worst traffic in the country, location is a kind of big deal.
I think in Fort Wayne, IN (originally from there) they pretty much closed the VA hospital and let people see local "civilian" doctors. I just dream of the day they let the rest of us do that. I think Medicare "Part V" would be a great option.
My husband went to a VA in Texas. He went every six months for check ups but they never caught the esophageal cancer. He was previously diagnosed with GERD, and all the doctor told him to do was raise the head of the bed. He passed away almost 5 years ago. He was always so pleased with the VA hospital
I am going to the VA hospital in NC. I love the care. I see 5 specialist. Most of the doctor are contracted from Duke University and are top notch. The doctors call me for feedback and it is amazing service.
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.
I see this post has not had any input for a while but I can say the VA Hospital here in Baltimore has been great about getting me intergrated into the system. I went for a visit with my Primary care doc and left with a week of appointments with various specialist. I agree that some of them are young (maybe residency) docs but all eager to help
I go to the Atlanta VAMC for specialist care, to a clinic for my primary and have been out-sourced to a state run facility for my psychiatric care. So far all of my doctors in the VA facilities have been excellent and very compassionate. I like my therapist at the out-sourced facility but the Pdoc leaves a lot to be desired. She just doesn't actually listen...she is too consumed with filling out her forms on the pc. So I am on the waiting list to move over to a VA Pdoc when it's available.
For me the worst thing in regards to VA facilities is the parking...there just isn't enough.