In an obvious ploy to deflect criticism away from the Phoenix VAMC debacle and the new ones popping up like mole hills across the fruited plain, VA Secretary Shinseki got permission from Hizzonner to let us plebeians access private medical care. As usual, it was with a minor treble hook. All VA regulations and gimmees are. This one comes with the “If we can’t schedule you in thirty (30, samsip, trente) days” then you can go to the Massah’ clinic up at the big house.”
Us 100% P&T guys always could do this and sometimes get away with it if it was a rural situation. By 2008, they’d send the meat wagon out to fetch you for their warped brand of hospitality they serve up at VAMCs. My money is if it turns into an extended stay, they’ll give you the first bed available at their local Death Valley Inn.
They should give us a Card that pays the entire cost of the visit plus all prescriptions.
That would be a good thing regardless of other insurance.
So vets can now access private care? Too little, too late for this one. I got discouraged with the VA healthcare all around–the primary, the dental, the optometry–and went ahead and got on Medicaid. Now I have all of that stuff with seemingly little of the hassle associated with it before. I guess the government is still paying for it, in some way, although this is far more comprehensive and easy than trying to get it through the VA (in my experience).
I do understand how badly the VA has reimbursed for care in the private sector. That needs to be fixed. It took me six months to get payment from Fee Base for dental care I got. I am talking about a total change in the VA system to something like Medicare for All. The VA gives us a card we can use like a Medicare card or takes us into Medicare. I have Medicare already. Why can’t the VA pay my premiums? I could walk away from the VA system and never look back. If the VA provided good medigap care for me that would be enough. As it is I pay medicare premium and private medigap insurance because I don’t trust the VA.
I do not want to drive 20 miles for blood work at the VAMC. There are many things I could do much easier if I could just use a local doctor or clinic. No mileage pay. No spending time looking for parking. As it is now I have to drive 20 miles and limp for a couple of blocks just to get a flu shot, get glasses, get teeth cleaned or see a shrink for 2o minutes. This all takes hours when it could take minutes and no mileage. If I have a serious condition you bet I am not going to the VAMC to get it taken care of because I want to live a little longer.
I am not sure if the comparison has ever been made regarding costs involved in the private setting versus what the VA is paying for treatments but it seems as though someone has done it before. I hate it when I have to go into the private sector and then when the denial for payments arrive have to defend my position. Good example here: kidney stone in Feb. 2014, called primary clinic as required, was told that they could not authorize treatment through local hospital and suggested that I drive over 70 miles to the ER. Anyone else see a problem with that? Bet you would if you ever experienced the likes of a kidney stone.
My Post 911 Vet son has had to wait 90 days to get an appointment with a primary at St Pete