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More on the VA/Army medical care question:

by drpruner / March 21, 2007 8:38 AM PDT
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070321/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/veterans_care.

"AP: Mold, Leaky Roofs Beset VA Clinics
WASHINGTON - The Veterans Affairs' vast network of 1,400 health clinics and hospitals is beset by maintenance problems such as mold, leaking roofs and even a colony of bats, an internal review says.
...
The report found that 90 percent of the 1,100 problems cited were deemed to be of a more routine nature: worn-out carpet, peeling paint, mice sightings and dead bugs at VA centers.
...
But VA officials noted that despite some problems, the VA health system consistently outperforms private-sector hospitals in customer satisfaction."
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Lower expections?
by Steven Haninger / March 21, 2007 9:57 AM PDT

From the guys who lived in foxholes and trenches with bullets flying by? A few mice and bugs might have been a good meal at one time. Fresh carpet and a new paint job can't replace a caring nurse or physician when something hurts. Happy

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That's my experience with VA Albuquerque.
by drpruner / March 21, 2007 10:02 AM PDT
In reply to: Lower expections?

Also, I'm not high on the VA priority list (non-combat, non-retired), so the higher guys must be getting care at least as good as mine.

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VA excellent here.
by Angeline Booher / March 22, 2007 9:14 AM PDT

My husband was also "low on the totem pole" to qualify, so had to wait to enter the system via being admitted to the Veterans Home (a state one). The staff there was paid more than in other hospitals, so the turnover was much less. It was next door to a VA Hospital, to which he was transferred several times. The care there was superior. The staff was dedicated to "Keeping the Promise".

In the interim, several admissions to local civilian hospitals left much to be desired. Over medicated for staff convenience, for instance. (Having been an RN, I can make those judgments.)

Because of their keeping up his nutrition, not allowing him to be abed all day, and good skin care, he never had a breakdown in his skin.

I can't say enough good hings about them.

A neighbor, by choice, is getting his care through the VA Hospital clinics, and is more satisfied than with that he received via his private one.

Of course, the hospitals are going to be much more crowded now, especially for those needing extensive procedures and rehab.

Angeline
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Maybe you also got a form letter
by drpruner / March 26, 2007 4:45 AM PDT
In reply to: VA excellent here.

from the VA about 'studies showing our care is equal or better than civilian.' No doubt a PR reply to news stories, but valid IMO. And of course Walter Reed and a few other facilities did need help.

BTW I was happy to see that more than a token number of higher brass took some heat for it. Problems that big and widespread in any system have to have origins in management.

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Didn't get one.
by Angeline Booher / March 26, 2007 6:38 AM PDT

It's been 10 years.

The VA hospital has some "wear and tear", but the care remains tops, from reports I have heard.

The buck always starts and stops at the top, and those at the top set the standards and the attitudes that filter down the line.

Angeline
Speakeasy Moderator
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semods4@yahoo.com

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Add VA system:
by drpruner / March 26, 2007 4:53 AM PDT
In reply to: VA excellent here.

My status recently changed from level 8 to level 5, just because I turned 65. (Actual reason was the change in my Medicare status.) That puts me ahead of Gulf and other War vets who have "only" the prominent problem associated with each war. (Agent Orange for Vietnam, for instance.) I know I'm entitled to some care just because of my 8 years in USN, but I never got shot at. I wonder if there's some inequity there. (Level 8 would still be fine with me; I'm just happy to be in the system.)

Any vet with major problems that have him listed as above the trigger level in disability (30%, I think) still has level 1 or 2, so the listings make sense there.

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I have a thought there.
by Angeline Booher / March 26, 2007 6:33 AM PDT
In reply to: Add VA system:

My husband was 65, so the home, and the hospital, got his Medicare and Medicare supplement payments. (His service was all stateside.) So my guess is that there could be those under 65 with no insurance coverage at all.

So accept your "upgrade" to level 5. Happy

Angeline
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Of course. I'm sure it's proper [by the book]
by drpruner / March 27, 2007 4:44 AM PDT

but I wonder if someone who had bullets whizzing by for two years, but never got hit, might wonder if it's proper [fair].

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The biggest problem with the VA health care...
by Edward ODaniel / March 26, 2007 8:01 AM PDT

system is that because of Congressional mandates most of the VA (and military) custodial staff CANNOT BE FIRED and with limited funding more competant staff cannot be hired.

Considering that alone it becomes even more important to realize that VA care is superior to most other hospital care where poorly performing personnel can be terminated and replaced.

Walter Reed's biggest problem along with the other military installations mentioned as having sub standard facilities (in addition to the staffing limitations) is that BRAC funding was cut off and staffing levels were cut DESPITE the influx of personnel requiring medical hold facilities. In the past in such instances the personnel released to the medical hold company were provided the materials (paint, spackle, electrical fixtures, etc.) necessary to maintain and keep up the temporary quarters used by the medical holding company which were normally vacant billeting possibly scheduled for demolition as military installations do not "stock" or "mothball" billets beyond what is normally required for permanent party and school personnel assigned to the installation.

Of course it would be too much to expect the media to actually bother discussing these inbuilt limitations rather than simply condemning the military and not actually looking at the real source of the problems - Congress and the desire to spend on social programs for constituents rather than those programs actually within the enumerated powers such as defense and costs of war.

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Another view.
by Angeline Booher / March 27, 2007 5:32 AM PDT

VA hospital services were originally intended for retirees and service -connected conditions. As those sources lessened in number, it became possible for those who "served" to be eligible on a space available basis after the higher levels were given priority.

Several years ago there was serious talk about closing Alvin York. It is older than the one in Nashville proper, and it was said that it could serve the needs of all in the area.

Congress has not funded any new VA/Military hospital facilities, perhaps because the pool of those requiring care had dwindled.

That was before Afghanistan and Iraq.

The problems at Walter Reed were in the buildings where patients, not ready for discharge home , were sent so that outpatient care was convenient. Now, big wigs visit just the hospital, so it appears the focus has been on keeping it **** and span.

These patients were each assigned a case manager. I do not know if those are civilians or military, but I suspect the former. I don't know their case load. But I can't imagine one who was active duty to not be creative in "Keeping the Promise".

I was quite familiar with the Louisville VA Hospital in the 1950s. I know there was a "buddy system" in place. Those men were brothers. Thus, if the story about the brain-damaged soldier who was just told to find his own way around is factual, my guess is that there are some patients there who would be capable honored to serve their brothers by showing them around.

Again, I think the focus has been on the highly visible hospital. Maybe it's also because it has been some time since there was such an influx of wounded, and somewhere along the line there has been a lack of foresight and planning.

An aside.... the local VA organization has an ombudsman service for hospitalized vets. it also makes regular visits to the Veteran's Home to keep an eye on things. I admire those men and women very much who continue to serve their comrades.

Angeline
Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email
semods4@yahoo.com

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