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Instead of calling VA, his primary care physician, nurses or even that clinic to get an appointment, he wrote his congressman. That congressional letter took two more months to route its way back to VA. Six months from the start, that Veteran was finally seen by the specialty clinic. You must advocate for yourself. You and I at some point will fall through the cracks. No matter how great an organization is and I think the VA is pretty great , it will happen. I remember when I was a kid, the doctor would come in for five minutes and leave. Once, I was so afraid of a needle the doctor spent 15 minutes with me, and he was visibly annoyed.
Annoyed because he spent more than five minutes with a single patient. The calamity!
VA docs are not bound by quotas to see as many patients as possible despite the need. They focus on quality visits.
To know which doctor is good, ask hospital employees
My last annual checkup was an hour They tend to run over their scheduled times, often sacrificing their lunch breaks. Scheduling an appointment first thing in the morning or right away after lunch is one of my tricks to always be seen on time. It also makes it easy for you to be early and on time. If you wait around for the clinic to call you, it may be a few weeks. I hate that too. Ask your physician or nurse for the phone number or location of that clinic and call or go there, tell them you have a referral and set a time that works for you. VA reports on a metric that claims majority of Veterans receive their appointments within 14 days of the desired date.
So, I decided to start asking for an appointment tomorrow, and it almost always works!
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I routinely will have an appointment within two weeks. Have a question? Need a new appointment? Need to check your appointment schedule? Need to refill a medication? You can literally solve your own problems in a few clicks. Every facility has a My Health e Vet coordinator and most staff can help you if you run in to any technical problems. You have the right to go to any VA facility you want to.
Yes, it may be more inconvenient, but you have that right. I have a friend who plans a trip home every few months and schedules his appointments all in one day at his hometown VA because he likes it so much. At the least, they will put in a referral and you can walk to the hospital to be seen. If you have a referral, you can usually talk to the clinic front desk and offer to wait around until a spot opens. Use the kiosk and avoid the lines. The kiosk will even tell you if you are in the right area or not. If you are like me, you see your doctor once or twice a year.
When I go, I bring a laundry list of issues I want addressed. Verify at the end of the visit that the physician entered your referrals, mistakes can happen and you want to make sure you catch them before you leave. Every facility has quarterly town hall meetings that you can attend to speak with the leadership. They hold these meetings because they want to hear your feedback. You can also speak with a patient advocate about anything. The best and quickest way to get a response or a solution is contacting your primary healthcare team via My HealtheVet secure messaging or calling their office.
Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.
The doctor will see you now
Posted on Oct 7, October 4, 54 views. Posted on Oct 7, October 4, 17 views. Posted on Oct 4, October 3, 1 comment views. Posted on Oct 4, October 4, 3 comments views. They want me to attend physical therapy in a town 25 miles away. I have a physical therapy unit which accepts government compensation already medicare and tricare for life literally a hundred yards away.
So I have to either drive 94 miles round trip to my nearest VAMC physical therapy clinic, but get mileage compensation, or drive 50 miles round trip and get no compensation at all. I talked to the local clinic and they said they just need to talk to VA choice and work out the payments and all that. I have told VA choice that twice now, but they apparently are not interested in calling my local clinic to get a relationship started.
I am almost to the point of telling the VA system to go bleep itself and use Medicare and Tricare For Life and get decent medical care on the civilian market. Be sure to tell those making your appointment that you need to have it at a time that accomodates your van schedule. There seems to be quite a variance in care. If you are having problems, be sure to let the VA know- per the article.
Where I live a lot of folk were complaining about an employee at the clinic and they were removed with the help of the VSO there. Combat wounded and Medavaced to Yacoda Navel hoapital twice and returned to ATC to soldier on still wounds weeping and into combat who knew this could cause gangreen? Meivaced again 17 days in the operation into Cambodia Nixon had just been sworn in, and I voted for him my first at just I have been in the VA medical system for more than 20 years and what Tim is saying is so very true, you are your best advocate, your best advocate.
We veterans simply need to know that we can and how to deal with it. Oscar D. Great article and tips.
I recently came back to the U. I am a 20 year Marine and a combat Vietnam veteran. I started using the VA late November first time using benefits. I am pleasantly surprised that things are not as bad as I was expecting. As a matter of fact I give high marks to VA. I have used two hospital facilities and they have a difference and a similarity at the same time.
The first and last contact person those that sit behind a computer screens in the different areas of the hospitals are vastly different in their customer relations. As a matter of fact I have a feeling that I am imposing more work on them, invading their space, their own everyday personal issues, which they should have left them home and not make them an issue taking care of a Customer — A Veteran.
Just something as simple as having their name where we can see it do you see it during your visits? What about some rules of dress code this past Friday — was he coming or going to the gym. Like in the hospitality industry they are the first and last contact with their customer — they should be. By the way…they are everywhere and they could drive forward a better image of the VA.
How to get the most from your visit to the doctor
I am a proud Marine, Veteran and above all an American. What an awesome article! This is exactly how I feel about my VA. I live in San Antonio and I love the clinics here! With everything in life you need to be proactive and speak up. Why would your healthcare be any different.
I love my VA! Ghee, I guess the VA is great right…. See the news this morning? This article is all over the networks and being smeared, why? I really appreciate the tips, coping skills. That is what they are and good ones. The VA has issues and knows it and I see progress, I fill out the patients critiques at the end of each visit and tell it like I see it. I get responses I see change I feel good going there. Make it better make it work and any tip out there to make my visit better is always appreciated.
No Kiosks, no second clinic in Rural America. Wait 2 years for surgery. My healthy vet is a black hole at times.
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