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What should VA do first to improve mental health care?

 

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BBinOKC

June 26, 2014 - 2:48pm

Ensure doctor patient confidentiality. If everything you tell your doctor can and will be used against you, why would you voluntarily enter the system?

Jim R

June 26, 2014 - 11:36pm

Funny how they say it will never leave their office but yet they pass it all around within sec ... Sure is funny just how many of them can and do know ur medical business from the vol sitting at the door of the VA to the DAV driver that takes u there... BTW just how and where do they get it anyway ????

Dan Codespoti

June 26, 2014 - 2:50pm

Sell ALL VA Hospital and medical facilities. Give every veteran a card like the Medicare card except it is for qualified veteranss (MediVet). Use the money currently wasted on the bureaucracy to actually pay local doctors for their medical care. Then most veterans won't have to drive elsewhere for medical care. That's a large savings for them.

Jeff Saddlemire

June 26, 2014 - 2:59pm

I totally agree!

Ronald J. Gonzales

June 26, 2014 - 3:16pm

Absolutely not! Our VA would go by the way of anything else privatized by the greedy corporations. I speak from education and experience. Because of my financial standings, I pay a monthly premium and copay to receive my care. It is not my only choice by any means.

James rossbach

June 26, 2014 - 10:48pm

I totally agree I have to drive 3+hrs to see a neurologist that knows anything

Jim R

June 26, 2014 - 11:40pm

GO Dan GO ,, Couldn't agree more & what the hell might just work,, after all what WE got to lose,, cant get any worse then what it is already !!! AGAIN TY !! I'm not alone !!

OregonVet

July 5, 2014 - 5:26pm

Yes, I agree 100%, the existing system should be scraped ASAP. Tons of money would be saved and Vets would benefit by having local care of their own choosing.

Don Seman

July 9, 2014 - 3:13pm

I like this idea When can it start

Jeff Saddlemire

June 26, 2014 - 3:00pm

If nothing else FIRE THE UNION.

Glen A. Barnett Sr

June 26, 2014 - 3:02pm

I agree with Mr. Codespoti. That would take the burden off of the VA if cards were to be issued.

Richard Cooper

June 26, 2014 - 3:05pm

I agree with Dan's idea. There is nothing run by the government that works. There are most likely many good medical professionals in the VA. I have experienced some but, the private sector, as always, would do a better job.

Carol Pohorenec

June 26, 2014 - 3:46pm

After my schizophrenic husband's death in 2011, I saw his VA psychiatrist name on a doctor site I was researching. On a whim I decided to check it out. I was devastated when I read it. NOT ALLOWED TO PRACTIC ANYWHERE BUT A GOVERNMENT FACILITY. What does that tell you about the care our veterans receive after giving so much.

Your Cumshaw artist

June 26, 2014 - 3:49pm

Move 1/4 of the Top managers to road cleanup work on interstate highways.Then replace them and 6 months later repeat the process with a like amount.Keep doing this for 2 years. Give the firing process new tools so this never happens again.We had the power once so take it back again on our soil this time.

Mike Roller

June 26, 2014 - 4:08pm

Ron G, the "greedy" in America is our bloated Federal Government that can not ever do with one penny less. Every dollar they collect and spend belongs to someone else and now it is so out of control they can no longer satisfy their craving for money by stealing it from the living. They’re after money that has not yet been earned both millions not yet born. America’s biggest problem is the Fed and its Crony-Capitalism, an age-old disease that has been afflicting the American medical system since the 70’s when Ted Kennedy created HMOs. But as usual, the Government didn't actually build them. They made words and the rest of the Country has tried like hell to abide. The Government just digs deeper and is now dismantling the whole economy for their own political power. More government was NEVER the answer if you believe in the US Constitution. I assume that you too took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic because you should know that when the government adheres to the Constitution the American People are then freed to show the rest of the world how it is done! The American People HAVE ALWAYS out perform gov't bureaucracies in every decade and in every endeavor. Somewhere between Clinton and Obama the American People seem to have forgotten that.

Thomas Thomas

June 26, 2014 - 4:39pm

These are some good comments, I would like to add Medical marijuana as a possible answer. I've seen some promising TV shows.

DisabledVetEmployeeAtVAHospital

June 26, 2014 - 8:08pm

Yes, lets add Medical Marijuana! Many of our patients never wash, never change clothing, and come to the VA drunk! And many bring their filthy dogs with them and call them "Service dogs". It's called entitlement! Now, the VA Hospital is afraid to question these patients for fear they will call the news.

MCI

July 9, 2014 - 6:21pm

DisabledVetEmployeeAtVAHospital

Your comment is offensive and disrespectful "our patients never wash, never change clothing, and come to the VA drunk! And many bring their filthy dogs with them and call them "Service dogs". It's called entitlement! First of all, the dogs are Service Dogs and they help our Vets with PTSD, Second, you do not know what this vets are suffering from and may be homeless.

DisabledVet also with the VA

November 12, 2014 - 11:29pm

Wow! If you don't like working for the VA there is always unemployment. If your arrogant butt never walked in their shoes, how can you judge them. Attitudes like yours are part of the problem. I could almost understand it if you were a civilian, but not from a veteran. You might want to talk to a care provider about these things. There is hope.

Dr. RGC

July 6, 2014 - 6:45pm

Nothing like a TV show to get good medical advice!!

Paul kruse

June 26, 2014 - 5:35pm

First you have to actually hire some people that actually care about you and your service to this country. I don't know how many times I have been to the VA and been treated like crap. I personally feel like I have PTSD but yet I do not meet the "VA requirements"'. Which I think is BS. There are many forms of PTSD. If the government can not fix the VA system, then they should sell the rights to a company that will take care of me and all of millions of other veterans that need care.

Jim Lutz

June 26, 2014 - 5:46pm

Im with you Paul. I went to the Va psyc. and in 15 minutes he said I dont have PTSD I have a problem with my childhood. That was after two or three questions about Nam and twenty or so questions about my childhood. So then they sent me to a psyc. {a contractor} to determine if the first was right or not and again it was determined that I am PTSD free. Talk to my friends and relatives that have seen break down over nightmares or something on t.v that brought back memories. I believe THAT IN WAR THERE ARE NO UNWOUNDED SOLDIERS

DisabledVetEmployeeAtVAHospital

June 26, 2014 - 8:14pm

Paul, stop sucking your thumb. Wake up. The VA hospital is loaded with disabled veterans who work there. We have doctors that are working six days a week and sometimes sleeping in their offices. If I had a dollar for each time I have heard a cry baby who didn't get their way say "you don't care!", I would be rich. Why don't you go somewhere else and pay for the services! You get free treatment and get paid travel to go to the VA!

Sgt Shat

June 27, 2014 - 10:58am

DVEAVAH & Paul, I think I have found an article for both of you; NPR dot org/blogs/health/2014/06/25/324005981/heart-of-the-matter-treating-the-disease-instead-of-the-person

Paul kruse

June 27, 2014 - 8:27pm

I am not sucking my thumb. And yes I do know that there are many wounded and disabled vets that work at the VA. That is just my opinion. You don't like my opinion then don't read it. And fuck off

Bill in Nashville

June 26, 2014 - 7:55pm

I have had luck at the VA in Nashville. I have seen changes in the system there since I first started back in the 90,s. What ever they are doing in Nashville they need to copy it. I know the care I am getting is better than my civilian doc. I have also been to other VA facilities and they don't compare.

Marvin Grimm

June 26, 2014 - 8:49pm

With all the health care facilitys in America we don't need to always use VA Hospitals. Use your Insurance card, bill the Gov. as they do now, and have VA used only as a last option. That would cut down on the OVER LOAD.........It's only going to get worse with new vets signing-up.

Rick Bennison

June 26, 2014 - 9:12pm

I agree with Mr. Codespoti - sell all VA medical facilities and eliminate the bureaucracy that has screwed the whole system up. Issue ID cards to all qualified veterans so they can obtain medical care at a local facility. That would eliminate a government boondoggle, and save money, and provide adequate care for qualified veterans.

JME

June 26, 2014 - 9:16pm

VA needs to be dissolved and all care turned over to private practice backed by consistent and fair government payments.

Old Grunt

June 27, 2014 - 8:25am

The VA Health care system has some really major issues, both on the local level as well as the national level. How do you fix it? I can see "our elected" members of Congress getting all the media attention they can muster for relection, our CiC getting his noise bites on prime-time, maybe even some BIG STARS from the puzzle place will get some-facetime with the big news outlets. But in the end, don't you see that Vets cost way too much money?? If all of us would just go ahead and die, problem solved!! I can't see any real progress with the VA's issues, the number of people put out of work/loss of perks at the top/loss of face for some of our elected pol's/ just won't allow for improvement. Why hasn't anyone noticied all the issues with the COMP. side of VA?? I like the idea of the "HEALTH CARDS" but just can't see it ever happening.

Jim Sharp

June 27, 2014 - 8:54am

To adequately begin to address complex PTSD the VA needs to decrease its reliance on medication as the primary (and all too often the only) tool. Research strongly supports the efficacy of cognitive behavioral treatments delivered by trained professionals. Such treatment is more expensive and time consuming in the short run but much more effective in relieving the suffering.

John Birch

June 27, 2014 - 9:45am

My daughter, an RN, laid down the law to me. Get mental health services or lose her phone number. Awake up call. I reluctantly went feeling I did have a case of depression, but also knew I would refuse Prozac and it's ilk. Long, long story short it turns out my diagnosis was PTSD. I've got the best treatment. Prolonged Exposure therapy helped. I need up with a 100% disability with none of the horror stories you read about in the press. I have received the best medical care of my life at Hines VA and the mental health care has been difficult, demanding. Sometimes embarrassing, but never demeaning. And never was the solution just to have me pop pills. While I am still far from the functional person I remember myself to be, I now have a lot if self-esteem back and I can often suppress my PTSD through rationally analyzing. Why I am suddenly so disturbed. Fortunately I only harmed myself during the worst of it, and more fortunately I had a daughter who cared about me enough to kick my butt, and even more fortunately I had the Hines VA along with my primaries Dr. H, NP F, social worker V and from Mental Health a team of psychologists who took the time to examine all parts of me to include cognitive testing. In particular Dr's N, W and K..

Long way yet to go but...

I go by results. I'd say keep your Medicare style solution. I am a champion for the VA. Where they go off the rails they must be held accountable, but my guess is the silent majority of VA enrollees are pretty much pleased with their care and feel more comfortable in a facility full of like experienced patients and with a staff that recognizes our service as we recognize their professionalism and skills. When I first started going to the VA there was something odd about the place. I couldn't put my finger on it fir the longest time. Then it dawned on me, no kids. No street people. No rich folk to speak of. Just honorably discharged veterans. Hines VA feels like home to me.

The sign at all Hines VA entrances is deeply moving...

"The price of freedom is visible here."

daveb48195

June 27, 2014 - 2:13pm

War contributes to mental problems for sure. However our mental health issue goes much deeper into our societies than just the military. The VA should encourage our government to initiate a national effort on this issue without directly using the VA's budget. Dysfunctional families are on the rise through out the whole world. If the mind is like a computer than garbage in is garbage out. We need to clean up the garbage we allow ourselves to listen to and see. It sure seems to me that our minds would be better off if we could.

Lane1

June 28, 2014 - 3:20pm

I have been in the VA system since 1978, in 1980 I went to the VA Mental Health to find out what was wrong with me, everything he put in my records was seen by all other Staff who saw me for other reasons. I got my hands on my records and saw he had put things in there that were completely untrue. I tore it all out. and stop going. by 2001 I was a human mess, my son was killed and my memory of all that had happen to me flooded my mine and I needed help. went back to the VA and was diagnosed with PTSD, I have been in treatment ever since, in 2005 after not working for three years because of my sons death I put in for a job at the VA and I have been working for them to this day, I have seen great changes at the VA, when I first started going you would set about all day to see a doctor, now you have appointments and are seen within 20 min after you sign in. The Doctors and Nurses are great at the VA. I have receive great care in mental health. I love my therapist. and with the therapy and meds, I can handle the flashbacks much easier today. the problem at the VA is not the Care you get it's the Admin who mess the system up with greed. corruption and lie after lie, they treat the workers like crap and place people in positions that have no idea what their doing, most are their friends or relative. they get big bounces while the worker gets nothing, there is a lot of people in there that have a lot to offer and could make things better if the admin folks would put them in those places, you can put in for a job that pays better and in a field you know, but they will change your score or cheat lie, in anyway so you don't get the job and the unqualified friend, relative gets it. with all that you will be in good hands with your care, we have to stop the good ole boy thing. the 40 or so veterans who died in the VA system didn't die by the care they received. it was the Care they didn't receive, and that was admins fault because of a number. thats sick. One more thing I have to say in defense of the VA is if a veteran has an appointment ether keep it or call and let the VA know you will not be there, this will allow for another veteran to fill that spot. so help help your buddy and keep your appointment.

AH

July 3, 2014 - 1:29pm

I don't like be forced to see psychiatrists who are clearly reading from scripts. I am a person, thank you.

It would also help if I could understand what they are saying, between my hearing loss and the heavy accents.

And finally, as a woman, I don't want to see a male psychiatrist. The ones I've seen just don't get it.

MCI

July 6, 2014 - 9:26pm

I have received both sides of the spectrum (good and bad) recently from the VA. The best thing for the VA is a complete overhaul by replacing all the staff with veterans. We understand and care for each
other.

Boatswain

July 7, 2014 - 4:13pm

Hire more counselors and make sure they are veterans and be way more proactive! Stop doubting veterans when they ask for help. This is the reason why veterans need to be hired as counselors because most veterans know what happens in the military and there are no doubters as to the crazy unbelievable things that veterans go through.

Rich in Massachusetts

July 7, 2014 - 11:58pm

1st - it would be good/great if a way could be found to hire as many doctors as possible that served in the military (they would probably be much better at relating to what was communicated! Pay them at a higher rate if needed.

2nd - REACH OUT - BE PROACTIVE - and by this I mean go through the RECORDS and find those veterans that don't have jobs - support - a feeling that anyone cares - etc. We know there are many veterans that won't talk about their situation - BUT if someone could get them STARTED on OPENING UP - it could make a WORLD OF DIFFERENCE TO THEM and the PEOPLE THAT HELP THEM. Research shows that JUST OBSERVING AN ACT OF KINDNESS creates a FEELING OF WELL BEING. So if the VA CARES they'll TRACK DOWN OUR BROTHERS & SISTERS IN NEED and GET THEM STARTED ON THE RIGHT TRACK!!!!

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