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Veterans Administration Sign-Up

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by 2ANewbie, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. 2ANewbie

    2ANewbie S.E. Portland Member

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    I am a 64-year old retired male who spent four Viet Nam era (not "in country") years in the U.S. Navy with no service related disability. If I have a VA card or equivalent I can get some minor discounts at a few places such as McDonalds. My paranoid side says that I want nothing to do with the VA, and I should stay away, because I want nothing to do with being on one more government list. Neither do I want to mess up any private insurance coverage (Kaiser through COBRA for a few more months with coverage that I like) due to questions of who do I have to go to for specific health care issues.
    Does anyone here have knowledge of pros and cons for a person without service related disabilities signing up with the VA?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Sstrand

    Sstrand La Grande OR Well-Known Member

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    2ANewbie
    That is a very healthy attitude in this day of the emperor "Making a List and Checking it Twice." He wants to find out who he can claim was naughty, . . . not nice!!! Although, with his mindset you likely won't get a lump of coal but you could get a lump on your head during the visit you can expect from the "Enforcers."

    Sheldon
     
  3. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    Just use your dd214. I know it will work at lowes. They try n say you need an I D card but the va doesn't give an ID card unless you sign up for medical too (I just got done checking two weeks ago) I'm like you no desire to get involved with the va
     
  4. clambo

    clambo Vancouver, Wa. Well-Known Member

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    Dont fret. The VA is far too incompetent to cause you any harm unless you are actually getting something from them. Then its another story.
     
  5. U201491

    U201491 Well-Known Member

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    I waited 30 yrs before signing up with the VA because of the stories I heard about them. The made a big change in the 80's and 90's so I signed up finally.
    First thing they did when They asked me about what I did was give me a 7K pair of hearing aides and new glasses. I generally have the yearly ckup, but am pretty damned healthy, except for a little elevated BP, so take a med for that.
    I honestly have never had to wait, have been treated exceptionally well and with respect.
    At least in the Portland area they are fantastic. They have convenient outreach clinics all over. You can do a lot online including emailing and actually get a reply from your doctor. Fill prescriptions online and they come in the mail. They have never asked me personal questions about firearms, and even if they do, you dont have to respond to non medical related questions.
    They asked if I was ever depressed and I told em hell no. It a good life.
    I wish I would have signed on long before.
    And yes the card does save a bunch at some places.
     
  6. clambo

    clambo Vancouver, Wa. Well-Known Member

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    Glasses? Outreach clinics? Email w/physician? Online prescriptions......depression? I am sincerely happy they have taken good care of you. As one vet to another I mean that. My own experience has not been as good. To use your examples, I have never been offered glasses of any kind. I go to the outreach clinic in Hillsboro. I live in Vancouver. There are many closer VA facilities. I generally do not get email replies from my doc. Occasionally I hear from a nurse. The doc just blows me off because I question him and have been a difficult patient. At least in his mind I have been. My online prescriptions are almost always very late or contain the wrong medications. Sometimesthey just dont come at all and other times they send me 5 times too much. Id be a lot less depressed if they could just do something right occasionally. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I can go on for days. Botched surgeries, denial of care, etc., etc. I am 80% service connected disability. I hate to know what the non service connected vets face. Only thing theyve ever done consistently right is get the money into my account on time. Frankly Id trade the money for good medical care. Really.
     
  7. U201491

    U201491 Well-Known Member

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    That is unbelievable.
    Sorry to hear that you have such a problem with them.
    I carried kaiser for years and they were a real pain.
    The VA has been wonderful.
    You can get glasses every 2 yrs through the va and they offered the hearing aids. My hearing was literally shot out. The meds always arrive a little ahead of sched. Usually 3 mo worth at a time.
    Maybe switch your primary care doctor?
    I was going to hillsboro when I first started too. They were great.
    The only thing I dont care for is they wont pay for any hosp if needed but a va hosp.
     
  8. Skier

    Skier Beaverton/Washington County Active Member

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    BTW, if all you want is proof of veteran status to get discounts, then if you're an OR resident, FYI, if you bring your DD-214 to the DMV when you renew your drivers license they'll put "Veteran" on your license. :) No additional charge if you had to renew anyway... Not sure what they'd charge (if anything) to give you an update "Veteran" license if you weren't renewing; my guess would be they'd charge the same as a replacement license, but not sure how much that is either.
     
  9. BoonDocks36

    BoonDocks36 Oregon, in the boondocks Christian. Conservative. Male.

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    clambo

    TWO WORDS: Patient Advocate. This is a person who works With the System, For You, when Your Needs are not being given 100% As Seen by Your Standard.

    I have ~been~ a Patient Advocate, and have seen Department Heads tremble, at the fact they knew they were up that creek, without a paddle. Seriously. I have been Personally responsible, for Doctors & Nurses being FIRED, for not Doing their Job, correctly.

    the most serious case, was a breach of Patient Privacy, it Occurred seven years ago, tomorrow! ... Bye Bye, Dr. BS. Talk about my private medical issues in public? "I don't think so, bubba" !!!!!

    And every clinic has a STAR staff, associated with a Patient Advocate.... I know my Patient Advocate, by first name basis, and consider him a friend, to the point that I have personally signed Bibles, for his Two sons, both when they entered the Military... I have a "Mission" or "calling" to give Bibles away free... I have been doing it close to a Decade now...

    But I digress. When Any Service Member is Mal-Treated, ALL of us are Mal-Treated, if not FIXED. So we Fix the Problem.

    The Patient Advocate's ONLY JOB, is to right the wrongs which occur.

    1. Find the Patient Advocates Name, for your VAMC, which is what Your Clinic is attached to.
    2. Get their Phone number on your Speed Dial.
    3. When YOU think you are not treated JUSTLY, state to the offender: I want to speak to John/Jane Doe, Patient Advocate... NOW.

    do not get angry. Get calm, but get satisfaction....

    If you need more than this PM me, We, as Veteran's MUST take care of each other. I have your Six, brother. And I mean that.

    philip.
     
  10. Mephistopheles

    Mephistopheles Lane County, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have used the VA for much of my medical for the last 40 something years. They have replaced the lenses in both of my eyes and did an excellent job of it. 100% of my prescriptions come from the VA through the mail and always on time. They have monitored my old guy concerns and when I recently spent a night in a private hospital, they paid 100% of the bill. I won't get into the dental care they have given me. The VA does have problems and now that there is another 50,000 plus wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan, those problems are going to increase. Much of the triage is handled by what I feel are unqualified people. Also, you must keep aware of what needs to be done and when. Thinking the VA is going to always get back to you on an appointment is a mistake. I agree with BoonDocks36, the Patient Advocate is the best friend a Vet can have. You want to see a jerk VA worker crap their selves, call the Patient Advocate. You will be questioned as to your mental health each time you visit. Always paint a Rosie picture of your mental stability and you shouldn't have the knock on your door wanting your gun (witness California). Just about every waiting room I have been in has copies of "Guns and Ammo" and NRA magazines. The VA did tell NY they would not turn over mental records of patients when requested. The Roseburg VA recently has been told they can not do surgeries that require an overnight stay. They don't have a Intensive Care Unit and some say this may have cost a life a few months back. I would not like to see the VA Health System turned over to private care. I would actively work against any such proposal.
     
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  11. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    After reading some of these post I may do some rethinking about going to the va
     
  12. BoonDocks36

    BoonDocks36 Oregon, in the boondocks Christian. Conservative. Male.

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    oknow.... It is not " My First Choice "

    It is my only choice. 100% rating, since 2003, in the system since 1996. It took that long, for me to finally get an appeal ~to~ rating... I started, and restarted, and restarted my appeals...
    It took a Phd/therapist/former Navy Seal, to help me realize, I was not capable of performing the paperwork.
    I Praise God, for what I have ~Gone Through~ and come out to the ~Other Side~.... I know, that I am one of the lucky ones.

    Most of my Adult Life, I have worked the shifts, No One would Take. Worked beyond even normal overtime.... Like the day I did a Twenty Hour shift... Here in Oregon.... Only to be informed, upon arrival at work, that on Wednesday, I had exceeded 40 hours, and I would be off, until the start of work, next week, "No Overtime, this week".... I fought that, and won.... But now, looking back... I wonder how I made it as long as I did.

    I know, that I Owe my life, to some Very Dedicated VA Employees, Dr. M*st, (RIP) Thank you, is not enough. Legally Blind, and helping the Veteran, until He was given a Medical retirement, himself...

    the least I can do, is Post, to help the Veteran, who thinks it is not worth the struggle.

    It Is.

    philip
    Sp/5, US ARMY, TayNinh, RVN, 1969/70, Total in service, 2 years, 11 Months, 29 days, but whose counting???? My RA Number is still in my head... 12 Sep 1968, RA Regular Army, Segregation from the Draftee's, who would of thought????
     
  13. Steve06

    Steve06 Oregon Active Member

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    The VA is a formidable bureaucracy. Take advantage (at the Oregon County Level or through the American Legion) to have someone assigned to guide you through it. Remember there are taxpayer funded advocates who you are paying for with the State of Oregon.
     
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  14. BoonDocks36

    BoonDocks36 Oregon, in the boondocks Christian. Conservative. Male.

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    Steve05 is correct, but that advocacy ~is Not~ The one I am referring to... They help you Into the VA, once your in, the VA's own Patient Advocate system is very effective... Paid by the VA, to take care of the Patients of the VA, kind of like the Inspector General's the military has.... But yes, Every County has a Veteran's Service Office(r) and the DAV & AL, VFW, etc. All have advocacy workers who know the correct forms to file, and the methodology to write them out....

    that latter was my problem, coupled with "thousand yard stare" after fifteen minutes of reading the same question, trying to figure out how to respond to it. (Quit, come back, try it again...)

    philip
     
  15. SOrez

    SOrez SOR Active Member

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    I spent time in the AF 1966 to 1970. I was hesitant to sign up at the VA. I finally called the local VA and got signed up. I got a physical check up,hearing aids and see the doctor at the VA. Just do it.
     
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  16. Navman

    Navman Canby Oregon Active Member

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    Go for it 2ANewbie!

    My experience with the Portland VA coundn't be better as Taku and the others have reported.

    Just did my annual with complete blood workup and flu shot.

    I took the time to write the head of the facility about my Doc and told him he was the best Doctor I've ever had and why.

    But he went over to insurance and I got put with a nurse or a PA, I don't need much and better that Doc's serve other Vet's that need more.

    If I ever do need a Doctor, she will send me to one.

    I also got a $7k pair of hearing aids and with a remote control, I'm the envy of all the other ol' geezers in my circle.
     
  17. gunfreak

    gunfreak Boise Well-Known Member

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    Time for my 2 cents. I am not only a disabled Vet but also work at the VA hospital in Roseburg. I can tell you that I wish I was told when first getting discharged that I was able to not only qualify for medical benefits but also get a govt. job. That being said I love my job, I work in Surgery with a bunch of fun and caring people, most of them veterans themselves. I do agree with some of you about care at VA hospitals. I have to go to Portland VA and some of the people there don't seem to give a crap. There attitude sucks because the administration is FUBAR. I see that at Roseburg as well the higher ups don't care about the patients or staff. They form committees and go to meetings all day instead of doing constructive things like getting to know the staff and caring for the veterans. So to answer 2Anewbie, if you can get in the system it could benefit you. I get all my care at VA because I feel the Veteran staff understands me and it's the country's duty as President Lincoln said "To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan."
     
  18. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I went to the VA web site, it told me I was not eligible for any bennies (3 yrs RA) Hon Disc.
     
  19. waglockfan

    waglockfan Puget Sound Well-Known Member

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    Erudne....go to the VA in person. Bring any service related paperwork, especially your DD214. Screw what their website says.
     
  20. clambo

    clambo Vancouver, Wa. Well-Known Member

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    Lots of good advice been given and I thank those of you who have offered it. Id like to go back over a few things that were mentioned that I have been through so you can see exactly what I mean. Earlier it was suggested that I change pri care physicians. Ok, simple enough. I did try. Twice. Both times through the patient advocates office, both times summarily dismissed. All I did was piss my doc off even more. However, my doc did finally drop me as a patient but this was recently. I do not know who my new doctor is yet. I was also arbitrarily dismissed by one of their psychiatrists after 3 visits. No explanation. I showed up for my appt. and was told I didnt have an appt. Or ever did. Or had ever even seen the psychiatrist. That sort of thing will make you nuts even if youre not. To top it all off absolutely no one whether civilian or military ever believes any of this.
    Next and last patient advocate story. I had a back surgery gone bad. Done by a resident. To add to my troubles it got badly infected as well. Their followup doc spent a year telling me that I was healing just fine. Finally I presented myself at the ER for the 4th time with blood and infection oozing from my still open wound. I was admitted and they did corrective surgery the next day. This surgery was performed correctly by a very competent contract surgeon who explained to me that the problems she corrected were " a very big deal ". It took 3 months at home to heal. This surgeon told me that I would likely need one more surgery down the road to complete his work.
    A year or so went by and I began to experience the problems I had been told to expect. I reported to one of their senior surgeons and he agreed that it was time to do the final corrective surgery expected by the earler surgeon. He set it up, a surgery date was set. Unfortunately this surgeon fell ill and my surgery was cancelled. I tried in vain for six more months to reschedule. No dice. No explanations either. Finally I managed to wrangle another surgical consult. This time I was told I didnt need any surgery. I argued my point and asked for a second opinion. This was granted. This surgeon decided I didnt need surgery in about 42 seconds. His mind was made up before he even looked at my file. Needless to say I was unhappy.
    At this point I engaged the patient advocate. I appreciate her sincerity but all it has gotten me is nowhere. I was then sent to a resident who sent me to plastic surgery who sent me to the pain clinic. At this point I gave up. Its clear nothing meaningful is going to happen.
    This is just a small part of my VA medical experience. I wont bore you all to death but Ive had similiar experiences " winning my benefits " and am currently beginning the struggle to try and use voc rehab.

    End of rant, sorry.