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Veteran Diagnosed with Cancer by VA, Then Told He Didn't Have It After Two Surgeries

PTSDog      Tuesday, February 26, 2019

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     As Veterans, many of us have no other choice but to use Department of Veteran’s Affairs medical facilities for treatment of both service connected disabilities, and of general healthcare needs. It can be said that it’s great that we have the option available to us; and it is. At least there’s something for Veterans who often end up disabled and with no other options once our service to our country is complete.


     However, shouldn’t the promise of care for Veterans also include that it be quality care?

The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,250 health care facilities, including 172 medical centers and 1,069 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics), serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year.


     You’d think that the nation’s largest healthcare system would strive to be the nation’s best healthcare system, yet, still, after multiple waitlist, quality of care, and facility suitability scandals the VA still has a record which should be causing mounting concern amongst Americans, Veteran or not.


     How do we fix this? With a system in which accountability is next to impossible when dealing with employees who consistently underperform, retaliate against whistleblowers (both patients and fellow VA employees), and utilize union protection to maintain positions within the administration rather than being held culpable for poor performance, the people who suffer are the patients. As bloated as the VA bureaucracy has become, as a whole, its purpose is no longer to provide healthcare to Veterans. Instead, the VA’s purpose has morphed into self-preservation.


     As patients in this faceless bureaucratic wood-chipper of a system, Veterans have to find ways to get the care we need without getting ourselves into trouble. Veterans who stand up for themselves and their rights within the system get flags placed in their records. Mental health patients become regarded as potentially dangerous when they to oppose discriminatory policies, even though they do so peacefully. Many Veterans have found that the only way to get the care they need is to find a way to get it outside the VA system - and some succeed in getting the VA to pay for that. But why should things be this way? That’s not what the VA is supposed to be like.


     One thing I do know, although it doesn’t solve the problem, is that even though we’re beholden to the VA system for our healthcare, we, the Veterans, have the right to take charge of our healthcare. We’re no longer under orders, like we were during our active duty days. You have the right to disagree with your doctor, you have the right to ask for a second opinion, and you have the right to find answers for yourself. Take charge of your healthcare, brothers and sisters.


     Ask questions. Look at your test results. Find out what they mean - ask your doctor, who is trying to shoo you out the door as quickly as possible because he’s got 37 patients behind you to explain what he’s telling you, and learn not to take no for an answer when you know that what you’re being told, or what is being done, to you is not correct. Ideally, we should not have to fight for our healthcare. Realistically, the real war begins when we return from battle. You’re trained. You understand how to get things done within the byzantine system that is the military. You can get it done within the VA, even if it means taking things all the way to D.C. in order to bring them to light.


     It’s YOUR health - it no longer belongs to the military. You own it now, and the rights you set aside in order to serve have been returned to you as a U.S. citizen once your contract has concluded. Take the reigns, and fight - even if your battle costs you, you’re not just fighting it for yourself, but for the Veterans who come after you.


Article written by: PTSDog - DV & DV Radio's Expert Service Animal


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