VA Obamacare?


This is weird and I don’t mean funny-ha ha weird. I got a letter in the mail several days ago from the VA. What first caught my eye is the the date- May 5th, 2011. What? they ran short on stamps? If that wasn’t cause for alarm, the brainwashing attempt that followed was.

Any time someone or a government entity says they have found a way to save money and improve the system, I back into a corner and put my hand on my wallet. This missive was to announce a new VA-wide initiative to revamp the VA health care system. Seems reasonable considering the sucker is on the verge of a hernia. The new campaign touts the Patient-Aligned Care Team or PACT. The letter goes on to tell how they are going to form a “partnership” between you and your health care team “to make sure you receive  personalized whole-person care with an emphasis on prevention and health promotion”.

This all sounds sweet but I hear these things and my anti-social personality with passive aggressive tendencies kicks in and asks  Jez! Was I receiving half-person care before? If I wasn’t going to the the doctor for preventive medicine and a proactive approach to my health, then what exactly was I engaged in? Did they suddenly “get it” and decide to up the ante? Does this mean they are actually going to start caring for me?

The next paragraph spills the beans. Taking the same letters (PACT), they artfully reiterate their point with this:

Partnerships= with Veterans (as opposed to…?)

Access to care= using diverse methods (read concertina wire)

Coordinated care= among team members (determines who goes to get the coffee)

Team-based care centered around the Veteran. (Based on Hillary Clinton’s book “It takes a village”)

Seems like they took a page from one of my posts because they have suddenly started capitalizing the V in Veteran. About two years ago someone asked me why I always capitalize the V. My answer was that there are a lot of veterans. A veteran can be one who worked at Ford Motor Co. for 20 years or someone who has been reelected to Congress way too many times whereas a Veteran is one who served his or her country unselfishly. There’s a big difference and it deserves a big V.

Here we have a schmooze campaign in progress. In case any of you hadn’t noticed, if you want to see your PCP now, the wait can be several months. The newest trick is to just pop in to the “urgent care” model they have constructed at VAMCs and see a nurse. If it requires a doctor, you may get 5 minutes of face time and an attaboy with the Rx.  The VA’s new model of health care is going to be:

1) Call in to you Team and identify your concern. If you have internet access, you can email it and pose the question and they’ll “get back to you”.

2) If they can get away with it, you will be seen by a nurse or other pecker checker.

3) Since most questions can be answered over the phone, this will save you an unnecessary visit.

I understand most medical abbreviations attached to medical personnel such as MD and RN. My new PACT has four members . Does anyone know what an HT is? How about a MAA? These appear after the names of two of my team. I googled it but came up with a zero. Knowing the VA, these are made up by them. HT might stand for “Hope Technician” as in “I hope you’re not in a hurry, sir”. The MAA? “Mostly an Administrative Assistant” as in one who answers the phone and takes your BP/temperature  at lunch when the HT is on break.

Over the years we have seen the birth of nurses with more and more authority. I now see ARNPs, PAs and others who have the power of an MD. Where will it end? I envision a computer terminal in the VAMC lobby with the latest accouterments. “Please be seated and state your name and last four. Thank you. How may I help you? Place your right wrist in the cuff. Please lean forward until your forehead touches the sensor. Please remove the prescription form from the tray below and take it to the pharmacy.”

They are being blatantly honest when they say they’re offering “access to care using diverse methods.” This will undoubtedly turn out to be a redux of the claims process. If you wait too long you’ll give up and go away… or die. This is a win-win for VA and the Vet because there will be fewer Vets clogging up the medical care system and the waiting time will decrease.

About asknod

VA claims blogger
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1 Response to VA Obamacare?

  1. SquidlyOne says:

    That sounds like just another attempt to keep the herd in the pasture and pull out the steers that need branding! When I was going to the VA when I had GEHA health insurance I got all kinds of great treatment in Wyoming. Went back to Sioux Falls after I lost my gov’t health insurance and it was back to the old “no-care-no-treatment” shuffle. I went to see a VSO at the regional a few weeks back and asked him how a Veteran could be seen by a doctor. He walked me over to critical care MOO! I am now enrolled in the Southern Nevada VA system with no private health insurance so I will see how it goes. My dad goes to the VA with no SC for any illness. He is treated with kidd gloves by the VA and I told him it was because the VA was billing his supplemental insurance to Medicare. I see this as just another ploy by the VA to cull out the Vets who have no other healthcare available to them. Clayores and trip flares before the concertina wire, followed by the repel borders team with M-60s, M-14s and M-79s!

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