Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Veteran's Care




A short time ago, I returned from the Veterans Medical Center in Wilmington, Delaware. My appointment today was with the urologist. This was a followup to my kidney stone problem. Again, I was very impressed with the quality of care that I receive from the Veterans Administration. About ten years ago, I applied for my Veterans Administration card as insurance in case I was left without medical insurance. At that time I didn't that it was likely that I would ever find the need to use the Veterans Administration for my medical care. Little did I know. In 2001 I changed my job where I was covered with full medical care to a consultant job with no medical care insurance. Fortunately for me I had medical care with the VA which enabled me to work as a consultant. Also, lucky for me that I applied to the VA for medical care, because when the Bush administration took office, one of their first actions was instruct the VA to stop advertising medical benefits that was available for veterans. Subsequent actions by the Bush administration was to erect a series of roadblocks and hurdles to discourage veterans from applying for benefits. However, the Bush administration overplayed its hand when they proposed an annual $2,000 "membership" fee to apply for medical care. Of course this was patently unfair because one of the promises made to me when I joined the Army in January 27, 1960 was that I would have "lifetime medical care if necessary." The Bush administration was putting into practice the "starve the beast" theory. Basically the "starve the beast" theory is to cut taxes so much that then the government would have the excuse that their isn't enough money to support government programs like VA medical care. The political outcry was so great, that the Bush administration had to retreat from this proposal. However, they did lower the income eligibility of veterans applying for benefits. Thus, even less veterans could apply for benefits. My two brothers and several friends of mine who are veterans could not apply for benefits. Since I had already applied for benefits before the the Bush administration came into office, I was grandfathered into the system. I've had my share of bad breaks in my life but this is one of my good breaks. Not only do I have medical care but I have received the best medical care in my life. Ironically, all the years I had great medical coverage when I worked at my various banks, I only used it once. However, once I had my VA coverage, I had several medical issues. I had to have two operations. Various tests. I was worried about the quality of medical care. My worries were in vain. I have always received the absolute best medical care. Today was another example. As a followup to my kidney stone emergency this past January, the VA scheduled me for several tests. They have put me on medication to help avoid future kidney stones. They have tested me for my current condition. One of the things I really like about VA medical care is their preventive measures. Rather than waiting for something to happen, they take preventive measures. Also, their record keeping is excellent. My appointment this morning was at 9 A.M. The doctor saw me at 9 A.M. I didn't have to wait in a cubicle for an hour or more before the doctor quickly came in, looked at papers and mumbled something and leaving without even looking at me in the face or even talking to me. The doctor who saw me this morning sat down with me, looked at me and talked to me without being rushed. He carefully went over my records and shared this information with me. He gave me his sound and reasoned advice. I think the difference in doctors (VA versus private practice) is that the doctors in the VA don't operate on how many people they get in and out. In other words, they don't operate on volume. Of course the downside is that the VA is short of doctors. Many times I have been treated my nurse practitioners. Their care was also good but lacked the experience of a doctor. Another thing I enjoy about using the VA medical facilities is that I share a ride in the American Legion (Post 28) van with other veterans like myself. That makes a big difference. Instead of being shuttled off to a side office (like I was in private medical practice), which the doctor attended Mom and the Kids, I'm with a bunch of old geezers like myself. That means something to me. In fact, it means a lot to me. As a result of my tests this morning, the VA has scheduled me for a CT SCAN-RAD next month. I just hope I don't have to have my prostrate check again.

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