I am not surprised by the VA Waitlist scandals. Not at all. Why? Because we've been on those lists.
We've been the ones that have been told my husband can only see his neurologist once a year. We've had to wait 10 months on a colonoscopy, without first seeing a GI physician. We've yet to receive an appointment with a GI physician due to bowel issues. My first complaint of the issue was March of 2013. Yes, last year. Procedure was done in January of 2014 when we saw the headlines in Augusta, GA that read "Four Die Waiting on GI Appointments." That's encouraging when your checking into the hotel and notice the paper on the lobby table the evening before the procedure.
We've seen countless receptionists, not put John's name into the computer but write his info on a paper, never to get a followup or drastically later.
John has had some success with doctors and appointments but they've been few and far between and I feel he and other veterans are not getting the care they deserve.
Finally, after years of not having an orthopedic or pain specialist, the VA agreed to handle this via fee services and allow us to see a doctor closer to home. We are 3.5 hours away from the VAMC. John went for his consultation, went for an epidural and the day before his 3 week follow-up, the office calls and says his appointment (last week) is canceled due to the VA not authorizing payment for the services. Services to a physician that they already signed fee-basis forms for.
John looses feeling in his hands. He can't hold stuff much. He drops things. I had to go as far as holding his drink to his mouth today. We had a private neurologist do the testing to confirm several neurological conditions that stem from problems in his spine. The VA just ignores this as they say that they can't do that testing or do not have doctors that handle that.
Exhausting trying to get appointments and treatment and these are just a couple examples of many I could give. The VA wait list scandals are bad. I believe we've been subjected to those and now, I'm in part glad to see it all being brought to light so perhaps these vets can get better care. More timely care is needed.
My combat wounded veteran doesn't have the memory or energy to deal with this. Thus, I fight these battles for him. It makes him beyond frustrated. Many other caregivers and advocates are out there trying the best they can to be heard, to make a difference, and to get their veterans the benefits, care, and treatment they deserve. It can be exhausting and frustrating but we've got to keep fighting. We have to keep telling our stories. We can make a difference….Persevere.