Veterans experience with the their V.A

I was able to ask my fellow veteran what they think of the health care and maybe ways they could improve the system. They were able to give me stories and first hand accounts on their lives and the way the hospitals and doctors have treated them.

SGT Avery Abbott

Avery Abbott — 9 Years active duty army Veteran

Currently resides in Rolla MO.

He uses the health care system 2–3 times a year.

On average Avery reports that it usually take him anywhere from 60–90 days to receive an appointment at the V.A hospital.

He drives an average of 90 miles to a local V.A hospital or clinic to receive health care or to have an appointment with his P.C.M (Primary Care Doctor).

“Its took almost 3 years before I was able to receive a steady P.C.M. I now have a great doctor but she is severely over booked. I frequently end up using the emergency care clinic at the V.A for what should be a routine visits i.e receiving muscle relaxers and pain medicine when my injuries get to the point when I can’t work.”

“The system is broken we are not able to receive proper and timely healthcare appointments along with quality care. We are like cattle we are rushed in at the last second treated with the first thing that comes to mind with no testing or thoughts to diagnosing the real problem given pain medication and rushed back out and they are off to the next patient. I would suggest in order to fix this problem we get read of this system all together and allow veterans to see whom ever they wish in a community that is closer to them. This I think would cut down on the amount of spending we do for private hospitals staff, V.A. hospitals and even travel pay expenses.”

This means that Avery gets in his car 2–3 times a year drives 90 plus miles to his nearest V.A clinic (that’s about 1 1/2 hours given he drives 60 miles an hr.) He then enters his V.A hospital where he is asked to take a seat and wait to be called up. Sometimes the wait is short sometimes the wait is longer. That varies on how busy his doctor is or how backed up they are. He then hears his name called and he is rushed back to his room where he will be seen by the doctor. His doctor usually rushes in shortly after and is in a hurry. They quickly will go over his info and why he is being seen today. He can tell the doctor is in a hurry and tries not to drag his stories on a gets what he needs out. He is then greeted with a quick goodbye and a hand shake and rushed back out the door to his next stop. Avery is very rushed threw the whole process and doe not usually feel like he gets the est quality of care.

Jennifer Thrasher- United States Navy 4 years active duty

Currently resides in Bloomington IL

On average at least once a month

She reports drive anywhere between 50 miles 200 miles depending on the appointments and the doctor sometimes she is able to be reimbursed gas but not any other travel expenses.

“I usually wait about a week to schedule an appointment and for a specialist doctor it takes about not even a week”

“The can tell they are under staffed and tend to wait during my appointment. I don’t really have any complaints on the V.A. They are nice people and they are able to do great things for me at the hospitals. They are friendly and nice but the wait while I am at the hospitals are long and boring.”

“My over all experiences here in Illinois is that we have an okay V.A. hospital here and I am able to usually receive appointments quickly and timely manner. The staff is usually nice and friendly, I can just tell they are under staffed because they all seem to be rushing and stretched thin among other patients and doctors. I think things always be improved my thoughts are that we have a better managements system in place thus allowing for a smoother running hospital and staff.”

Jennifer on the other hand feels like she gets great care but sometimes is able to tell that the staff is short handed and is rushing around. She is able to receive an appointment for her doctors in a very quick manner that works around her schedule. She drive is usually only about 45 mins for her minor appointments and a few hours for major appointments and surgeries. Jennifer likes the staff and her doctors and even though she doesn’t enjoy going to the doctor she likes her doctors and nurses this makes is a more pleasurable experience.

I think its important to note that both people interviewed live in different states and visit different hospitals. So neither go to the same hospital or see the same doctors. This is able to show the variety of each state and the vast difference each person goes threw in order to book an appoint and the experiences they have. It also is able to show they both are able to see and feel that the V.A is understaffed even with the both living so far apart. It’s important that for the purpose of this blog to get a different view from different people and in different states to show case the many issue they each face.