Letters: On VA privatization Part 2

Johnson City Press • Apr 8, 2018 at 7:00 AM

With recent talk about plans to privatize the Veterans Health Administration system, we asked you with Monday’s Question of the Week whether you thought the federal government should put more emphasis on private care for veterans. Here are some of your responses.

Plan ahead for vets’ care

Two points. There’s a parable about the king going to war needing to count the cost beforehand. As a nation, we usually count the cost only to attain our immediate goals and NOT the cost of following through, for example, the long-term care to our veterans. We cannot expect members to rack up multiple deployments and not expect damage requiring costly and unique care. During the Vietnam Conflict, a one-year tour of duty was the standard and we are still paying the cost to our veterans’ minds and spirits. Today, the thought of a single, one-year tour is almost quaint.

Second. I am treated differently within the VA healthcare system than outside. As a retired, disabled veteran, I get my care from the VA. On occasion, when there were no, or inadequate specialists available for my needs, I’ve been seen by non-VA providers, both contractors at the VA hospital and outpatient procedures in town.

The times I have been dissatisfied were always when I was seen by non-VA providers for either failing to explain my care adequately or not listening to me concerning desires for my treatment plan. The VA lists my rights and responsibilities for medical care on their website and it gives me, among other things, the right to “be involved in all decisions about [my] care.” Most of the time, I haven’t felt this was the case outside the VA.

I understand that there needs to be some augmentation to the VA medical system, but in general, I believe that if we intend on prosecuting generation after generation of war, then the VA needs to be expanded and improved to at least keep up with the needs, and better yet, anticipate the needs of our veterans!

Johnson City

VA care is best

The GOP has wanted to demolish the Department of Veterans Affairs since it was created. To allow Trump and his band of misfits bent on destruction of the U.S. government would be an insult to everyone who has served in this nation’s armed forces

The VA system provides continuity of care for Veterans with long-term injuries and illnesses. The privatization of our health care system could create a need for veterans to travel long distances for care and pay higher prices for the medications that the VA prescribes to treat patients. I can see multiple providers in one day at VAH. They also provide an excellent telehealth department.

I’ve been unable to schedule appointments because the private sector would not accept the reimbursement VA could pay. My chronic pain remains inadequately treated. I’m still trying to find hearing aids. The VA’s audiometry department remains determined to find one that meets my needs.

In the most extreme event, I needed a refill for a medication I had been using for 2 years for Agent Orange-related Parkinson’s. It took a hundred mile round trip and a wasted day in a medical office for the Vet’s Choice physician to do a brief history. Then he told me to attend a clinic 500 miles and 6 hours away and return to his office after that visit. It took 7 weeks for an appointment with that clinic. The private sector failed miserably in all contacts. VA is the best care available for veterans. The current problems in the system are due to Congressional underfunding.

The current drive to privatize the VA indicates the willingness of the Trump mob to place greed before the welfare of the troops who will have to fight the war that Trump can’t wait to start.


Keep an eye out each week for another Question of the Week, but you may send us letters about any topic important to you. Authors must sign their letters and include addresses and phone numbers for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length. Send your submission to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717 or mailbag@johnsoncitypress.com.

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