As a physician I trained and worked in VA hospitals. For me, these were the worst places to work of any hospitals, county, community, private, bar none. As a physician in practice I see a lot of VA patients who avoid the VA. They’ll go there for their meds and their labs, but the formulary is abysmal, basically a quarter of a century out of date. Fortunately, a lot of these vets also have Medicare with part D. The VA is highly uncooperative in providing records, lab results, etc., but if the Vet will go personally to the clinic and demand the records, they can hand carry the records to us. Otherwise, I can’t get the records.
The physician quality at the VA is spotty, to be kind, and there is no continuity of care, and little if any doctor-patient relationship. There are no specialists available, and specialty care, if it gets done, is done by the local private physicians primarily, for those who have Medicare or other options. Otherwise, patients are sent to facilities several hours away for specialty care, almost all of which is available locally and of much higher quality.
I recently saw a patient admitted through the emergency room of a local community hospital who had gone to the VA with typical angina. He had had a cardiolyte stress test at the VA a couple of hours away, and was told that it was entirely normal, and no treatment was given. The patient came to the ER with recurring chest pain (unstable angina), was admitted, had a cardiac catheterization and proved to have severe multivessel coronary disease with a critical (greater than 90%) stenosis of the Left Anterior Descending coronary artery, that supplies blood to most of the heart muscle. He underwent emergency bypass surgery. How the VA got a normal study is beyond explanation. As the VA hospitals are often connected with Medical Schools and residency programs, he perhaps was under the care of a physician-in-training. (Of course a lot of research is done in VA hospitals as well, on Vets). Whatever was done in this case almost killed the Vet. The patient’s wife was furious, to say the least, at the care provided at the VA facility.
I, for one, would be apoplectic at the idea of extending VA healthcare to everyone. I would, in contrast, suggest that all Vets eligible for VA healthcare benefits be placed on the Federal Employees’ Health Benefit system instead, and eliminate the VA altogether. It’s enough that we send these people into battle. To bring them home and subject them to VA healthcare and do medical experiments on them is unconscionable. In my experience, the VA is the worst healthcare system in the country aside from the Indian Health Service, which is simply a slightly kinder, gentler and less direct approach to genocide (compared to the more direct approaches employed in prior centuries). The recent fiascos at Walter Reed and the recognition of the incapacity of the VA system to deal with the returning Iraq Vets, and the hubbub about traumatic brain injury, which the VA will not have the resources to deal with adequately, are all indications that another approach is required for adequate medical care for Vets.p>The billions just appropriated to the VA system will help get a lot of Congressmen re-elected, but are unlikely to help many Vets. The money would be better spent just paying for private (or Federal Employees) health insurance coverage. The private facilities available across this country would do a marvelous job caring for these Vets, more conveniently and more cost effectively. And they’d be proud to do it. Our Vets deserve better. Much better. br> — Kent Lyon br> College Station, Texas /p>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?