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Veterans Do Not Get Proper Treatment

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We hear about the treatment of veterans all the time, but when facts are shown, it seems that the Veterans Administration builds huge hospitals just to force veterans to go there instead of private hospitals, x-ray rooms and so on that are close to their home.

We are going to show what seems to be a total disregard for veterans all over. Every veteran we have spoken to makes the same comments when asked about obtaining x-rays for their injuries or for their health.

They have hospitals just 5 minutes away but they are told they have to travel to the VA hospital, which, at times, can be as much as 100 miles or more away to get just a couple of x-rays. The veterans could get the same x-ray from hospitals or other facilities sometimes less than a mile from their VA clinic. Ever wonder why they do that?

The explanation for doing that is totally sad. The VA states that they have to go through the VA hospital so the doctor at the clinic can obtain the results of the x-ray from the VA doctors that read the x-rays. One has to think that maybe the VA just wants to keep high numbers for a hospital that may not have numbers enough to sustain the hospital. However, most, if not all, VA hospitals are built in big cities where they have a lot of veterans.

Is it true that the VA cannot obtain a doctor’s report about the x-rays or other exam? Does the VA have to have only their Doctors give readings of the diagnostics requested? It would seem that they could obtain the results from the closest hospital and the veteran would not have to travel far to obtain x-rays or other diagnostic results.

We open this up to illustrate what is still going on with veterans. We have one case where a hospital, which can take x-rays, is less than a mile from the clinic, but because the VA does not have links to the hospital, it cannot accept sending the veteran to the hospital less than a mile from the clinic.

The veteran has to do one of 2 things to obtain an x-ray of diagnostic results that the clinic doctor, who by the way is a contract doctor and not a VA doctor. The veteran has to either use his own vehicle and travel close to 76 miles from the clinic to obtain an x-ray or other diagnostic exam while taking about 4 hours round trip to obtain a diagnostic exam that takes about 20 minutes. The veteran usually takes about an hour to get the diagnostic exam done. That is close to 6 hours to obtain the exam in total.

The second thing the veteran can use is the veterans bus to go where the veteran would have to be at the clinic at around 5:30AM. He would travel 2 hours to the VA hospital, take the exam and wait for the bus to go back to the VA clinic, which would arrive around 4:30 PM at the Clinic and the veteran would have gone a total of close to 12 hours to take an exam that would have taken just under an hour at the Hospital by his house.

Here we clearly see that due to the VA not connected to or even accepting outside results, it forces the veterans to go over long distances to take tests or diagnostics that could be done closer to the Veterans home. This proves that the VA has not granted the veteran a close to home opportunity as has been shown by the VA. The Veterans Administration should be set up to send the Veterans to Hospitals near their homes so they do not have to travel long distances either by personnel vehicles or by VA vehicles.

The buses used by the VA for transporting veterans are not as comfortable as their own vehicles and in some cases the VA buses make the veteran suffer due to the bouncing in the buses.

This is just for the X-Rays. If the veteran is seeing an outside Dr., he is limited as to how long he can see him and if that Dr finds something else wrong with the veteran, then the veteran has to do another set of items.

Let us show what one veteran we know is going through with not just the x-rays, but obtaining treatment for his problems. Let us begin with the following: This veteran has been seeing one particular orthopedic for over 2 years and each time the program the veteran uses to see the doctor runs out of the time, he is allotted to see the doctor who is much closer to home and not in a crime-infested city like New Orleans. When the time limit imposed by the VA runs out, the veteran has to go back to his primary doctor, who is usually a contract doctor outside the VA that in turn sends in another referral to see the orthopedic, and then the veteran has to argue with the VA as to why he has to go back to see the orthopedic he was seeing before. Keep in mind that this particular veteran is 100% disabled due to an injury suffered while on active duty.

Now, once the contract doctor sends the referral, the VA then sends a letter to the veteran to go to see their orthopedic, who works in New Orleans, which is around 76 miles or more from the veteran’s home. The veteran then states that under the law, he has the right to go back to see the orthopedic who was taking care of him before and who was seeing him until the VA said that the veteran has to see the orthopedic in New Orleans.

The veteran goes through the hoops laid out for him to follow and by the time he does obtain clearance to see the same doctor again, more a month has gone by in which he has not seen the doctor nor been able to get more medication for the pain he has had while waiting to see the doctor again.

Let us remind you that this veteran has endured over 50 years of this type of action by the VA and with the “new” program that is supposed to help the veteran over the last 4 years, the veteran still has to avoid certain obstacles tossed in front of him to receive care he should have no trouble obtaining. This, by the way, happens every day with millions of veterans and, in some cases, it is why many commit suicide.

This same veteran makes a request for an increase in pain medications until such time that the VA “allows” him to see another Dr for the problem the Orthopedic found while working with him. Now, the veteran has to go back to the “primary” doctor to ask for the medication and the primary doctor says he has to see a pain specialist. The veteran has to wait for a week or two, all the while, having pain that could be relieved by an increase in medication until he sees the doctor again. Of course, the veteran does not know if he will see the same doctor because the VA may send him to a new doctor where the veteran will have to start all over again.

Now the veteran has to wait for someone at the VA to call him to see a pain specialist, which may take from a week to a month to get done. Then, during this week to a month wait, the veteran is in pain that his medication helps but does not stop.

Now the veteran is waiting for the Primary Dr to send in a referral and by the time the referral is done could be anywhere from a week to a month. The VA will state that the veteran could go to the New Orleans hospital for treatment, which is not just a 4-hour round trip just driving but the trip also includes a very real possibility of the veteran being attacked in some form or another. One veteran has had a gun pulled on him and had a knife held to his window. They could also have their vehicles stolen or be hijacked. That alone would make many veterans say they will not go to New Orleans or any city with high crime rates, especially when they have long distances to travel to get there. It has to be mentioned that it may take up to 3 months to see a specialty doctor.

Remember that the VA was supposed to “HELP” veterans obtain doctors and treatment close to their homes when they met certain conditions, like long times to see specialist doctors, having to travel over 50 miles or be over a certain percentage of disability, and a doctor cannot be obtained for him within a month. The veteran shown here meets all the criteria to see a doctor close to his home, and in addition, he has done it many times over the last 5 or more years. Yet, that does not matter to the VA as they seem to make sure that the veteran has to wait a month or longer to see the dcotors he needs no matter where they are.

The veterans all across our country face the very same problems and yet, it seems that they could work with local hospitals to get them to take x-rays for them and send the results back to them.

This is not the way to treat our veterans, especially those who have disabilities from serving in the military. Yet, the Veterans Administration seems to slow down paths for those who can, and should be able to, obtain treatment close to their homes. Until the veterans can obtain treatment close to their homes without having to jump through a bunch of hoops to obtain that treatment, our veterans will suffer. Veterans should be able to see doctors they need without having to wait months for treatments or just to get to go back to the doctor that was treating him before. This happens to veterans across our country every day.

Leon Puissegur

Leon Puissegur is a Disabled Vietnam Veteran with 3 children and 9 grandchildren. He has been married to the same wonderful lady for 43 years. He is an award-winning author and has been writing opinion pieces over the years and in just the last few years has written 4 books and a large number of articles on many sites. You can purchase his books at Amazon.
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