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Should eligible VA patients be able to use their health-care benefits at non-VA facilities?


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  1. Although I do not receive any VA benefits (the paperwork showing my active duty injury was "lost" from the facility that treated me), here it is the NORM that you have to travel over 300 miles to the nearest VA hospital.

    Add the physical toll of driving that far, the cost of operating a POV with today's fuel costs, etc. It makes much more sense to treat locally if able. Unfortunately the specialists are also, on average, over 130 miles away.

  2. In some cases I think it would be to the VA's advantage to have veterans needing routine procedures, service- connected or not, to be treated at a non-VA facility because, it would save them on travel expences. A lot of Veterans have to travel a long ways to get to a VA facility and someone traveling hundreds of miles for a cold or even dialysis would probably be more costly for the VA than having them go to a non-VA facility.

  3. I agree that Congress should have the same medical plan has Veterans. I also believe they should contribute to Social Security. However, for this to happen we need Congress to stop placing themselves on elitis status and we need to stop accepting the status quo of Washington. We, as voters, play a part in the lack of common sense in Washington. The inefficientcy of Government and poor fiscal responsibility. We elect them and all to often re-elect them even if their respective performance lacks luster. If these very same people were in the private sector I dare say a large portion of them would be fired.

    As for their true concern of the military and veterans alike I believe we should have as a prerequisite, for federal office, at least two years of military service. Making that a mandate would help to assure no one takes lightly sending troops into harms way and their would be a higher likely hood of government keeping its promise to care for those vets in need.

  4. I belive that any non VA hospital has to give the emergency care to stabilize you then they contact the nearest VA Hospital for transfer or approval of treatment, thats the way its happened with me, so better information should get out to all veterans about health care and emergency treatment.

    Vincent Ruiz
    Service Officer
    Post 154
    Boqueron, Puerto Rico

  5. I was told, point blank, by the VA Representative when registering for VA Benefits that ALL outside medical treatment MUST be approved by the VA PRIOR to getting it or I would have to pay for it myself. Upon questioning the rep told me, "Yes, This includes visits to the emergency room." IOW A veteran has no right to any treatment outside the VA (on the VA's dime) WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL. ---- So, remember to call in advance before you need emergency treatment. You say you didn't know you would need emergency treatment? Tough! That is your fault. --------- YES! The American Legion needs to push for this and PUSH HARD.

  6. I Think it is totally ridiculous that Veterans are not entitled to use their benefits at non VA facilities.
    I think the Legion should Lobby Congress so that Veterans are entitled to emergency services and the use of an ambulance to get them to the nearest Emergency Room. And the treatment should be paid for by the VA.

    When I enlisted as a kiddie cruiser in the Navy in 1962 one of the promises of the recuiter was that I would be forever eligible for Healthcare under the VA upon my honorable discharge from the service.

    Not having full emergency services available to Veterans that honorably served their country is a great injustice and needs to be remedied. I urge all Veterans to write their congress men & women and see if we can't overcome this grave injustice to those that have honorably served.

  7. In response to your comments on how easy it is to go to an outside ERs are false. I am 100% service-connected and I have been to my local hospital's ER twice for emergencies...once for a 10mm kidney stone and the other for a severely torn rotator cup. My VA ER is over 50 miles away and both incidents happened in the late evening. I would have never been able to drive the distance to the VA facility for the pain and discomfort I was in. So when I contacted VA about the 2 ER visits, I was told and I quote, "You should have went to the nearest VA facility for treatment, your ER visits were not life threatening and therefore we are not going to pay for the visits." This came from my local VA Medical Center. I do not go to emergency rooms for medical services unless they warrant concern for my health or those around me and to drive 50 miles to a VA center when I am in so much pain that I pass out, then that becomes a danger to both me and people around me. So your comments are misleading.

  8. I agree wholeheartedley. I have been to four VA hospitals throughout country and have but 2 of the 4 satisfactory. On scales of 1-10 one of them was a ten, one of them was an 8 the other two were a ONE. At the ONE's they are just going through motions and waiting to collect what is probably a very good pension. They do not listen to patients since they know all answers. therefore you do not get any help. I recently had to come up from Flroida to, leave father of 89, who just lost wife , my mother of 62 years, because I have been through hell with Haley( Walter reed South, getting zero help, answers and consequently relief. The headaches caused pretty unbelievable, and it is all documented, if you care. in fact I wish there was someplace I could go to help resolve these issues, plus patients advocates, are trained very well and say exactly nothing that helps, three different advocates , saying a scripted piece, same thing, no help. I am looking for medicare supplemental as we speak. $$

  9. We CAN GO OUTSIDE THE VA and the VA pays for it, its called FEE-BASIS! I cant believe all the posts of vets on this site and no one knows about it! The VA pays for my outside endocrine specialist as well as my chiropractor! Veterans, know your benefits! its up to us to find out, you know the drill! Call your local VA, press 0, for the operator ask for fee-basis and ask them how to go about seeing an outside doctor. Usually all you need is a request from your primary care. Also, if you are having a medical emergency, GO TO THE NEAREST ER for treatment, call fee-basis the next day and tell them and the ER visit will be paid for! I am speaking from experience.

  10. I could care less where they get their care, just limit them in time served to two terms and that's it. Much of our problems are with people that are entrenched in the system and you can't get them out because they are keeping their constituents happy with all the Nanny State stuff they pour into their districts. Two Terms - Term Limits of some type should be force on them!!

  11. Outside sources would never except the low payment and neither would they put up with the delay between DC paying for the care like Medicare. What we need is people to go to their local outpatient clinics rather than going directly to the hospitals for routine care. In this age of Obama Nomics it's better not to mess around with the care we have or we will more than likely end up with nothing which would suit this administration just fine!!

  12. How about our elected representatives getting the same health care plan as veterans? They also should get the same housing while in DC. Having them stay at the local military bases will provide them better security, and they can eat at the mess halls too.
    Representatives should get the same pay as the average of all enlisted men, and Senators the same pay as the average of all non-general officers. The exceptions to this is if a representative is a vet and held a rank higher than E-6. The representative would then get the pay of his/her last military grade.
    Congress should also get the same retirement benefits as a 20 yr vet. of that pay grade.
    I also believe that anyone holding an office that is in the line of succession, or the President or VP should be either a military vet (honorable discharge) or a LEO or fireman (with 6 years of service). You should not be able to put someones butt on the line unless you have put yours on first.

    E-5 US Army 1968 - 1971

  13. I agree with Federal government employees getting the same health care & pay basis as the military. Then they would have to think more than once or twice before cutting pay raises & or cost of living increases for the military people who are fighting to keep us free, their families & veterans! They should also have the social security program like everyone else, so they would work to fix it instead of just waiting for it to collapse. I also would love to know how they got the power to give themselves a pay raise instead of having to send it to the voters. I'm surprised more people don't run for office so they can get the government's cushy retirement & benefit plans!!! We need to take back the power to vote our representatives a pay raise. That way they will have to work for the people again & not just play games when they get in office til they can draw their retirement checks. I hope others who read this will leave their comments so I can see how they are thinking too.

  14. I'm on board with this. The citizens and not the Congress critters should determine pay scale and when & how much their representatives get paid. They should be required to join the Social Security System just the same as every other citizen and should not receive retirement pay unless they have served in government for 20 years. The only exception to this would be the President who, by law, is limited to only 8 years in office. Those without term limits should not get retirement benifits until they have worked for the citizens the same amount of time as those citizens serving in the military. If it is good enough for those that put their lives on the line every day it is surely good enough for Congress critters that spend most of their time developing large waists eatting on this or that lobbyist’s dime.

    Robert Ireland - Post 174 (PUFL)

  15. I certainly seems so, but in light of today's slash and burn economic recovery policy, who knows if there will even be VA facilities themselves?

    Ron Kriel
    CAPT USN Ret.

  16. VA needs to modify its Triage/ER visits. When Vets get sick and need to see a doctor its almost if not totally impossible to see a VA doctor without seeing 1st a receptionist/information clerk and informing he/she your name and info And what is your problem, than go to a waiting room for the first of 2 nurses to see you. The first nurse takes the monitoring and tracking vital signs of you, than at times you have to see a 2nd nurse for the same thing until she/he assigns you to a VA Team of doctors to see you. I have waited up to 6 hours to see one of these doctors. During one of my regular PCD visits, this doctor had a sick Call patient paperwork and was looking at it and said one of the problems is seeing unscheduled patients that makes their work harder and longer. Other than this, I have only praise for the VA system which I have first seen in 1993 and in 1998 started usiing regularing and they have saved me through 2 heart attacks and a Bypass and 4 Stents, and I thank them.

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