Something is amiss at the VAMCs. I’m sure there are those of you who use the VA for all your medical care. I’m not sure if you have noticed, but there is a subtle form of rationing afoot. It’s not blatant and glaring. It’s not an outright refusal. It’s a subtle inability to obtain what is rightfully yours by the Catch 22 method. Consider this.
When I had my teeth cleaned in January. I was handed a scheduling slip for June to make a date for another cleaning. I was not able to schedule this because Mike, the desk dude doesn’t allow it. Or, in the alternative, VA’s computer doesn’t permit it until the month it is to be scheduled. Thus the earliest you could possibly get your teeth cleaned was to call in June and hope for a July appointment. I called on June 12th. Sorry, Mr. Nod. June is booked up. Call us in July. July dawned and I dutifully called Mike on the 8th. No way, Jose. They were all booked up for July. It was explained to me that in order to do this I must call on the first of the month for an appointment the following month.
Tomorrow I call for a cleaning appointment. I hope to get one some time in September. What this shows is the system is overwhelmed. It has been getting worse but this is becoming a joke. If the medical appointments are being processed like this we are in for some serious problems. A dental appointment, while not life-threatening, is only one facet of VA Medical care. Absent a catastrophic occurrence such as a filling falling out, we expect a minor delay even in the civilian sector. To ration the access simply to obtain an appointment is ludicrous. This oddly employs a technique we are witnessing at the VAROs. To wit, the practice of taking a year to certify a claim for appeal and transmitting it to the BVA. Yep. It’s certified. Has it been shipped to DC? Well, not exactly but we’re working on it.
Keep an eye on this phenomenon and question VAMC personnel. If there is a problem with access, it should be exposed now before the troops from Afstan show up and it really gets crowded. We haven’t seen anything yet. The claims backlog is just a harbinger of the tsunami of medical care that will accompany all those injuries. The large number of amputations or lost limbs from IEDs, while not as large as the Vietnam numbers, is still going to be a tremendous burden on the system as these Veterans attempt to access physical therapy and prostheses.
I guess we don’t even need to discuss the horrible delays in seeking mental health appointments from professionals for Bent Brain Box. Perhaps you just have to call in on the first of the month to get that coveted appointment 45 days hence?