There Is A Love-Hate Relationship Between The Veterans Administration and Veterans.
by James Glaser
April 29, 2014
It doesn't matter if you are a pro or antiwar veteran, you still get upset when you hear that the VA is killing veterans. That is what a new Congressional inquiry is looking into. Here is how the Washington Post reported it:
In December of 2012, I was in the VA Hospital in Gainesville for 11 days. During my stay there I noticed that the room I was in never got cleaned. After five day I complained to a doctor that stopped by to see me and he raised a stink, and they cleaned the room...sort of. I was in the Marine Corps, and so I know how to clean a room, a floor, or anything else that has to pass a White Glove Inspection. You would think that a hospital would try to come close to that level of cleanliness, but at the VA in Gainseville, they are not even close.
Over the years of using the VA for my Health Care (no insurance company will insure a severely disabled vet at a cost he or she can afford), I have noticed that the floors, no matter how old they are shine and sparkle like none you have ever seen. That, my friends, is a show for the public. After inspecting the floors, you will notice that everything goes downhill from there. As an example, it is not unusual to see blood on the floors with a cone set up so you won't step in it.
We now hear about 40 veterans being killed by the VA in Phoenix by refusing to give them appointments and keeping their requests for medical care a secret so the hospital's administration's books look good. Any Commander of a VFW, Legion Post, or any other service organization can tell you putting vets care off for over a year or more has been standard operating procedure for decades.
I really can't tell you how many times it happens, but as Commander of VFW Post 3869 in Northome, Minnesota, I heard it many times at our meetings where one of the vets would tell us of getting a VA appointment canceled that they had been waiting for over a year. Just recently I went to an appointment at the Lake City, VA Hospital in Florida and waited and waited only to have somebody come out to the waiting room and tell me that the doctor had gone on vacation, and they were sorry, but they forgot to tell me. It was over 100 miles one way to that appointment.
I learned years ago that health care at the VA is a game not unlike going to a casino. Just like at the casino, the odds are in favor of the House. You roll the dice and take your appointment, and if luck is on your side, you get not only a doctor who knows something about your ailment, but one who can speak English well enough for you to understand what they are saying.
When I first got back from Vietnam and started using the VA, I was told that I would get a Primary Care Physician who would take charge of my overall care. Oh I did get one, and it only took 13 years to get assigned to one.
Like I said, the VA is a game, but with this game, the rules change all the time. I could go on and on about guys I know who got screwed over by the VA. Of course, every vet is different. Some veterans come home from combat and have a hard time expressing themselves. They no longer have the ability to confront someone without losing it, so they learn to just shut down and keep quiet. Well those guys get walked all over by the VA. They don't know how to nor do they want to "play the game" the VA has set up, and they get screwed over year after year until they are so sick nothing can be done for them. I get pissed just thinking about how I have been screwed over and how my veteran friends have been screwed over.
Our government makes a contract with those signing up for military service that if they are wounded, get sick, or are injured while serving our country, the government, through the VA Hospital system, will take care of them. That contract isn't in writing per say, but it is told to you by every recruiter and every disabled vet has had that medical help since, well since our war in Independence in 1776. Today's VA has been assigned to the care of veterans since 1930.
The Veterans Administration is the best care Veterans can get with the amount of money our Government in Washington will provide for them, which is never enough. When our country goes to war they argue and talk about what the war will cost in arms and equipment but never about the cost of a life-time of care for those wounded and injured in those wars. So Congress tries to take care of the vet on the cheap. Oh, yes it is billions of dollars, and that should be no surprise because we have been at war almost constantly for the last 75 years. Although World War II ended in 1945, there are still hundreds of thousands of WWII vets getting care at the VA. Now add to them all the millions who have served this country since.
We as a nation claim we honor our veterans — just look at all the yellow ribbons and bumper stickers, right? It's not true. In truth we treat our veterans very poorly. Worse than that, we scam them and cheat them out of the care they need, the care they earned, and we kill some of them in the process.
If Congress and the President claim they know nothing about these things, it is because they choose to know nothing.
BACK to the Politics Columns.