Over the years I have helped several older vets get enrolled in VA for medical care. Mostly by helping get the paperwork completed and then physically transporting them to the Eligibility Office and setting up an initial Primary Care Appt.
Back then, VA was concerned with the welfare of Veterans.
Today… at least in Northern California under the current VA leadership team – the Veteran appears to be a nuisance and inconvenience.
I’m a veteran with rated service connected injuries; I’m in the system but I don’t use VA. I make my annual Primary Care appt. just so they know for sure that I’m alive and they should keep sending a check.
I have it pretty good as far as healthcare goes because I am well insured, but my friend Roy has a different story to tell, and from what I can gather, his story is the norm in the VA Northern California Healthcare System.
Roy is obviously not his real name, and his story isn’t over yet, but VA just wrote a draft of the last chapter for him.
Roy did 2 enlistments back in the late 60’s and early 70’s; he got out with a 20% Comp. rating for injuries he incurred. The injuries weren’t real painful for about 30 years, a little numbness or the occasional shooting pain, but survivable.
About the time Roy hit 5o things started to get bad and his VA Primary Care Physician decided to give Roy an Rx for 180 Vicodin a month. The main symptom was alleviated or at least masked so that Roy could deal with a 6+ pain level and function on a day to day basis.
About 8 years later the pressure on Roy’s spine made his right arm useless. He was sent to Neurosurgery where the problem was corrected, but the Neurosurgeon noticed 3 additional areas that were in need of repair and getting progressively worse. The reason for the numbness in Roy’s Legs and shooting pains in his other arm were revealed.
When Roy returned to his Primary Care Physician she was agitated and demanded that Roy sign a form that included universal search consent. She said he was supposed to have signed it long before and acted like it was his fault that she neglected her duties.
Roy read the form and by signing it Roy would have authorized access to his personal medical information and all other data held by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to ANY third party VA choses without notification or consent.
It also said Roy agreed to drive the 3 hours to the VA clinic, on demand, for random Drug tests and pill counts.
“This may include checking how often you refill and renew your prescription, counting pills… … and testing your urine, saliva, and blood”
“…they will also monitor this outside of VA. Most states have monitoring programs that track unsafe patterns of prescription drug use. VA and these programs may obtain and share information about you without your specific consent.” Pg2 VA form 10-0431c
If you are taking pain medication provided by VA, you more than likely signed the VA form 10-0431c and effectively gave up your 4th, 5th, and 14th amendment rights. (Read anything they give you 3 times.)
Roy said “NO”… He refused to sign away his rights.
VA continued to provide Roy with needed medications for chronic ailments like arthritis, respiratory issues and pain medication for the service connected injuries – Right up until his prescriptions expired; then Roy was told he had to sign the form 10-0431c, with the Universal search consent, or he wouldn’t be treated.
Subsequently all of Roy’s scheduled appointments were cancelled without any notification, including the MRIs required to complete the needed neurosurgeries.
Roy requested, but was refused a new Primary Care Physician.
Three years later, after countless attempts, Roy was finally given an appointment with a new Primary Care Physician. The doctor again refused to treat Roy unless he signed the VA form 10-0431c with the universal search consent.
Extreme pain makes you agitated and Roy’s wife told me his exact words as he walked out were: “You can kiss my ass fat boy.”
Since then, in between bouts of screaming pain, Roy has done his best to use the VA system to get some sort of care and resorted to going up the chain of command calling the director, and every other member of the Leadership team personally.
Not even ONE bothered to respond – they blocked Roy’s phone number instead.
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