SecVA: Veterans to see continued improvements in 2020



Veterans will continue to see improvements in VA services, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said at “State of the VA” speech Feb. 5 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

These improvements for Veterans include increased innovation—including the VA’s first 5G hospital—along with decreased wait times for appointments and better overall care.

Increased innovation

The secretary pointed to several programs designed to provide better Veteran care.

The VA hospital in Palo Alto, California, is about to become one of the first 5G enabled health facilities in the world, with portions becoming operational this week. The secretary said will deliver is richer, more detailed three-dimensional images of patients’ anatomy. He added the resolution is so clear and consistent that it will give VA a reliable means of delivering telesurgery services to Veterans.

“That means we will have the capacity to allow VA’s best physicians to consult during surgery even if they’re not in the same room and are halfway across the country,” he said.

Wilkie also pointed to VA’s work on exoskeletons, which do the work patients can’t do on their own. The VA currently has a pilot program to develop exoskeletons that stimulate the spinal cord.

“Instead of the exoskeleton moving the patient around, the patient can increasingly control the exoskeleton as their own muscles are reactivated,” he said. With further research at VA, we are hoping to turn the exoskeleton from a mobility device into something that trains injured people to walk again under their own power.”

Other innovation

The secretary also pointed to a VA partnership to help Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and pain management.

The partnership is with the University of Southern California, a non-profit called Soldier Strong, and AppliedVR. Veterans with PTSD use virtual reality relive and reimagine traumatic events in a controlled setting, under the care of a clinician. The program gives Veterans a chance to process these emotions, which can be an effective treatment for PTSD. He said virtual reality can also help block pain signals from reaching the brain, and thus is a drug-free supplement to traditional pain therapies.

Veterans also see improved care through innovations such as telehealth, a new technology to identify potential diabetic foot ulcers and the precision oncology program. All these innovations help increase Veteran care, he said.

The secretary said this innovation carries on VA’s previous innovation, which includes inventing the cardiac pacemaker, inventing the nicotine patch, performing the first liver transplant and introducing a powered ankle-foot prosthesis. He said all these innovations have a direct impact on Veterans’ well being.

Better Veteran care

Veteran wait time is shorter at VA than compared to private sector. This decreased wait time is for primary care and two of three specialty areas. Wilkie said that’s coupled with a record-high 59.9 million Veteran visits in fiscal year 2019. That’s 1.7 million more appointments for Veterans than ever before. He added 90 percent of Veterans surveyed trust the care they get at VA.

When Wilkie took over, only 25% women vets were enrolled in VA care. Now, he said 41% receive VA care.

Overall Veteran care is improving, Wilkie said. He said VA will implement a provision of the MISSION Act in 2020. This will extend Caregiver benefits to Veterans who served before 1975.

Veterans also receive better mental health care, Wilkie said. This includes same-day mental health care and a universal screening process to identify Veterans who may be at risk. Since late 2018, VA screened more than 4 million Veterans. He said the Veterans Crisis Line is taking more than 1,700 calls each day, and VA takes emergency action on about 100 of those calls.

“I believe that Veterans can show the country the way on how to deal with this terrible problem,” Wilkie said. “

Different approaches

Wilkie said the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End the National Tragedy of Suicide, or PREVENTS, task force is weeks away from releasing recommendations. The task force will include a community integration and collaboration proposal, a national research strategy and an implementation strategy. Wilkie said he will recommend that VA opens up financial support. This includes charities, local governments and non-governmental organizations to help Veterans.

Overall, the MISSION Act gives Veterans choice, Wilkie said. In the first six months, VA approved nearly 2.8 million referrals to private sector care for 1.5 million Veterans. Wilkie said just like the MISSION Act rollout, he expects the upcoming Electronic Health Records Modernization will improve Veteran care.

Veterans also see changes in how VA uses Whole Health, setting a standard for care. Wilkie said programs like yoga, aqua therapy, music therapy and art therapy were unheard of decades ago. Now, he said VA uses a Whole Health approach to develop a personalized health plan.

Wilkie also addressed Veterans stationed at Karshi-Khanabad base in Uzbekistan, better known as K2.  U.S. forces occupied the old Soviet base shortly after 9/11. Wilkie had candid advice for any Veteran who served there.

“I want all Veterans who have been there and who feel they need to see us to come forward,” he said. He added all Veterans should seek out VA to use the benefits they’ve earned.

“Come see us. File the claims. Come speak to us. This is not your grandfather’s VA where the paperwork is going to take 10 years.”

Author

Adam Stump

Adam Stump is a public affairs specialist with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. He is a retired Air Force Veteran who served 20 years, including two deployments to Afghanistan for detention operations and special operations.

Comments

  1. James McCanna    

    All these comments should be forwarded to the Washington Post and the congressional reps in each particular area. All this money is being paid by the taxpayer without any attempt to straighten out the VA in a meaningful way. Does Congress do
    anything right. I doubt it.

    1. Paula Minger    

      We’ve used the V.A. since 1976 for all my husbands care. The improvements are pretty unbelievable. It’s night and day compared to our first days trying to get care

      We use San Diego VA and Ocean side is his Primary Care who’s outstanding

      I’m grateful for the VA because my husband is still with me.

  2. David Turner    

    I still have a hard time understanding why the VA hospital and medical care are denied to me. I served aboard a fast attack submarine between 1971 and 1972. I am told my income exceeds the VA’s allowable income ceiling and because I did not serve in a “war” zone I do not qualify. Because I served on a submarine I was given “ hazardous duty pay” as was all service personnel in a war zone.

    Was my service to my country of less importance or was my commitment to my country not as strong as the Vet that typed requisitions in Saigon, never to see any combat other than the occasional bar fight with combat veterans on leave.

    It does not seem equitable or right to exclude anyone that served in our countries armed services.

    1. mike Petersen    

      Hi Dave,

      I’m not sure what is going on in your case. I was on boomers from 76 to 78 and joined in 74. I have benefits but don’t like using them because because they make it so hard to do so. The last time I tried the VA sent me all of my meds and was charging ridiculous amounts for meds. I did not order the meds. they came to me in the mail and once I got them they wouldn’t take them back. I spent a lot of time going back and forth trying to not have to pay for meds I didn’t order. I winter in Az and home is Washington. when I’m in Az the only way I can get care is to go to the emergency. I myself did not serve in a war zone either, but have benefits. you served during the Vietnam War so you should be eligible. You might try your local congressman. good luck.

      Mike

    2. Paula Minger    

      No it was extremely important service during that time. The information you received is wrong

  3. Keith Seckel    

    I’d like permission to use a few articles from time in our ship’s newsletter, the Hector Herald. I will include all references to authorship.

    Thank you,
    Keith Seckel
    Editor Hector Herald

    1. Gary Hicks    

      Keith, Feel free to use any of our content from VAntage Point or our social media channels.

  4. Donna Little    

    All VA hospitals are NOT created equal! While I’m thrilled to read some of the comments from people that say their VA hospital is great, the one in Albuquerque, NM has gone down hill continually for the past several years. My husband showed up to his eye appointment months ago only to be told that it had been cancelled. No one notifiied us and we drive quite a distance to get there. He was told that all five of the eye doctors quit on the same day. Doesn’t that send up a red flag to administration? I finally got approval for my husband to be seen by my eye doctor outside the VA. My husband’s psychologist left to work at another hospital and his psychiatrist retired. My husband has had 12 different primary doctors since receiving his benefits in 2010. There have been times he’s notified that he’s been given a new doctor, given an appointment, and that doctor leaves before the appointment date. There is an extreme amount of turnover at the VA. It takes time to build up a repore with your doctor, especially your psych doc. All this turnover leaves the vets feeling abandoned. Another commenter posted that they were seen in a non VA ER and is having trouble getting his bill paid. That happened to us, too. It took months of calling the non VA hospital before they billed correctly and the bill was paid. A friend of mine was a Marine. She was exposed to toxic chemicals at Ft. McClellan. I have watched her health diminish rapidly over the past three years. She is now totally disabled, on oxygen 24/7, has so many health issues it’s unbelievable, yet she was awarded less than 20% on her VA rating. She’s in constant pain and on numerous meds. She lost her husband to cancer a few years ago a month after diagnosis. Her income is only $1200. Since she’s not 100% according to the VA, she has to pay for her medication – $400 a month, and now she has to pay for her Medicare part B – $144. She can’t afford that, so will most likely choose to go off the meds. She’s basically just waiting to die. Our vets deserve far better heath care than they are receiving. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie is delusional if he thinks that vet care is improving. Maybe in some hospitals, but not in Albuquerque.

  5. Nicholas Micskey    

    I would like to see the VA embrace more preventive care programs. Medicare Avantage plans include gym membership incl in the premium cost. This is a very cost effective preventative program which the VA should consider.

  6. David Skelton    

    I receive excellent care at the VA in Loma Linda, CA. I see my primary care every 6 months just to “check-in”. If I need to see her for any other reason, I only wait a week, ten days at most for an appointment. If it’s not serious enough for an office visit I leave a secure message on MyHealthyVet. She responds within a few days. I see my Psychiatrist every 3 months for med refills and my therapist monthly. The dental clinic is top notch. In addition to yearly cleanings and routine checkups, I’ve had two implants which would have cost at least $2,000 from an outside dentist.

  7. Jackson Goddard    

    I, as an outpatient for over two decades, am satisfied with my care.

    My primary care doctor allows twice as much time per visit as the 15 minutes allowed by doctors outside the VA system.
    An ability to use an IPAD to communicate remotely is helpful and reduces the cost to travel back and forth.

    It does take some time to become familiar with the services and to know how to avail yourself of them.

  8. thomas Elliott    

    If you are serious about reducing the suicide rate try treating vets better. I saw my new rate for depression posted online and they differed another disability. They said my appeal was closed and I would receive my decision letter within 10 days. Would have meant a small but good boost in compensation. That was the first part of november 2019. so far NOTHING whats going on is they don’t care if they post stuff online and make their numbers look good then frustrate the vet for making him/her believe their battle is over after years of waiting. I think they need to review stiff like this then FIRE those that are responsible. but the bottom line is the bottom line and they hope everyone disappears even if it death they really dont care they want to save money and stall and frustrate as much as posible

  9. Steven Martin    

    I am recently retired and am sadly disappointed in the VA. Not only is the care substandard, but I can’t even get the medical personnel to treat me like a human being, much less a patient. I’ll go to the civilian sector as I have medical insurance. At least the doctor will look at me as a person. All I get from the VA is an awful lot of talk and no real action.

  10. Jim Beam    

    Yes you can apply every year.

  11. Oscar Pearson    

    I just posted a comment on Facebook on how the VA takes months to pay their bills. I received treatment at a local ER after being referred by the VA as Dallas is over 50 miles away from my home. This was in October 2018 (that is correct 2018) and they still have not paid the bill. They send me a bill every month and I call them every month and they update that I called them and during the conversation they tell me the VA always takes months to pay bills.
    I have appealed (the VA tells me I have to do this) even though I am 100% disabled and in the old Choice program. All appeals have been turned down. I have also sent an appeal to DC and the return comment was, it is not their job. Then whose job is it. All I am asking is to pay the bill. They referred me after I called them and I called them after treatment as I was asked so what is the problem?

  12. brad Reaves    

    the last time I was at the VA Hospital in Atlanta I was kept until 9PM with noone telling me the reason.I told anyone who would listen that due to responsibilities at home I could not stay late but I missed the last shuttle to my vehicle so I was forced to take a $15 cab to get to my vehicle.After writing the patient advocate at the VA hospital, their resonse was that some procedures take longer than expected.Boy I am sure that response took a lot of thought.After the VA patient advocate emailed me to call him to discuss this,I called them twice and no one ever returned my call.So tell me Secretary Wilkie what a fine job you are doing.You may convince some people but you can’t convince me.As usual no one will respond to this message as no one at the VA seems to care and now I pay for a medicare supplement so I can be assored of getting decent care at my local hospital using local doctors.

  13. brad Reaves    

    I just posted a long letter which was erased before it could be sent.Typical VA nonsense.I am sure no one will respond or even cares,so tell me Mr. Wilkie what a fine job you are doing.

  14. Pissed Off Veteran    

    The V.A. is a JOKE. How about you give us veterans OBE DENTAL *DEEP* CLEANING with root planing a year? Who wants 5G or a social network? It’s bad enough our caseworkers are NON VETERANS who have NO CLUE what we did for our country or what we went through. They call their work shift a “tour of duty”- THEIR DAILY WORK SHIFT!

  15. JACQUELINE LUMBRA    

    I wonder how long it will take to discover that the vets and their caretakers will get sicker instead of better with the 5G?

    1. Pissed Off Veteran    

      It’s part of the plan to get rid of excess patients.

  16. Joey D Kilgore    

    I was rated at 70% and got sent to a therapist outside of VA and they were on phone whole time not paying attention to me at all and got dropped down to 50%. If therapist was on phone and not paying attention to me how would they know I was better or not? I should be rated individual unemployability for PTSD will always have it no matter what happens.!!!

    1. Pissed Off Veteran    

      Use YELP to report the therapist. I got evaled by TWO shrinks – a younger male and older female- both spoke broken english that watched me like a boring tv show while telling them about my MST. There was no respect or compassion. And they prescribed BLOOD PRESSURE meds to “help me sleep” without access to my medical records.
      When I initially refused the meds, they said I could be charged with failure to take meds. I took the bottle, but not the pills. The next day, V. A. Cardiologist freaked because I work out and have low bp, she said if I took those pills, I could suddenly LOSE CONSCIOUSNESS, fall and crack my skull, and angrily removed the shrink’s prescription. SOME providers are also caught in the hijinks of The System, some thrive on it. Be VIGILANT of your own wellness!

  17. Joey D Kilgore    

    Will not post 1 comment I made.

  18. Joey D Kilgore    

    If you are 50% or more you should be able to utilize dental especially if needs be.

    1. Kim DeRousse    

      Unless the rules have changed, you have to be 100% for dentL6

  19. Kenneth J Holsworth    

    Had aortic valve replacement year ago last Dec. Had a few problems but went home in ten days. VA treated me with exceptional care. Shortly after comming home had pancerias issues another couple fo stays and one less gallbladder I’m home again. Still have digestive issues. VA has done state of the art work on me with some of the most qualified doctors in the field. I am greatfulfor to my SanFran Va. They ste the best. VA in not on business to create revenue so no unnecessary surgerys.GO. these people saved my life Semper Fi

  20. paul klugh    

    Many of you GI’S are so negative about the VA system, I am a 100% service connected Viet Nam Vet, I served with the 1ST CAV. DIV.FROM 67 68, And like most, coming home from a war nobody wanted in the first place, was tough, went through 5 Job’s a year, because I needed an “ATTATUDE AJUSTMENT “. A that time I did know about “P.T.S.D”, or even what ” AGENT-ORANGE” was, being sprayed day after day that it would have side affects later on in my mid 50’s and early 60’s and on top of that P.T.S.D, however, I was able to get the ” HARD CORE ” Therapy for ten years ,not VA, but a place run by, staffed by WW11 vets, then another 5 years of fighting with the VA, about P.T.S.D. I had to have three out-side shrink’s who where pro’s about this, and then finely the VA set up a an appt.; had to go through three va shrinks who knew about this stuff, with three different results but all came to the same answer, after one of them struck a NERVE, THEN ANOTHER 4 YEARS for my disability cam through, all retroactive. But I must say, after I lost my temper at a V MAC, now the staff, and medical are real good, and the va will cover in plants, if you are 100%, but only at a Vmac,.it takes about a year, long proses.

    ‘ ORANGE

  21. patrick a foushi    

    Better care , where ?. Here in Alabama? What improvements? So more plans for new buildings? That is the only improvement that been seen here, in the last 10 years. The doctors in the E.R. room are a joke ! Most of the workers in Montgomery Alabama clinics area are just filling a space for a pay check and benefits. He should try to get an effective Medical treatment for a medical condition . When I go to the V.A. for a medical treatment , I think that the lemonade is on the treatment plan sometimes. So actions are louder then words. The saddest thing about everything is that my pets get better medical treatment . As will as my kids and they are on state medical insurance though the state. And the state gets less money then the V.A. But I know for a fact that my kids will never join the military. Because they have seen what I have to go though to get basic Medical treatment. So do something other then waste money on web show or whatever that was. More or less WAKE UP!!!!!

  22. Simon    

    This is exactly what I had heard about the VA! We proudly served our country! At the time we were young and eager to do whatever was necessary to fulfill our responsibilities. For 37 years I have heard we have a 2nd rate Medical healthcare and benefits (total neglect from our past Presidents) if our men and women preformed 2nd rate on the battlefield or in the skies where would we be today??? I ask you this? I served over 8 years in the Air Force and just recently tried to get Medical through the VA! I have tried over 4 months to get in touch with the contact person for Healthcare and no luck. This is exactly my point they need us at certain times and other times they act like they are so busy to return a call!! #noVAhealthcare

    L

    1. Jim Beam    

      If you have a problem go to the emergency room. Let them evaluate you. They will set up your appointments as needed and make sure you get seen. If you are not in the low income or a disabled veteran you will have to pay for care.

  23. Teddy Lee Koning    

    I sold some stock that I had for many years and the V.A. told me I made too much money to qualify for benefits. That was a few years back, last year I made $$14,932 before deductions and after my medical and other expensed were taken out, I ended up with $7578.00 Adjusted Gross Income. Can I reapply to receive V.A. benefits or do I still make too much money.???

    1. Jim Beam    

      As you are not satisfied. Take a camera and video tape the whole process. Send a copy of the tape to the Wilkie and to a member of the President’s staff. Also report the problems to your local complaint section at the hospital. Just complaining does not help on the internet. Step up and fight for your rights. If you have problems report them exactly as they happened and as soon as possible. This is the only way to change your situation.

      100% vet who had the same problems and fought to get them corrected.

      1. Jim Beam    

        Yes you can apply every year.

      2. Jim Beam    

        this was meant for patrick a foushi

  24. Wendilyn Barton    

    Working with TriWest for the Mission Act is an absolute joke. Especially as a female Veteran for female issues. The VA is 70 minutes north of me. TriWest tried to schedule a visit with a doctor that was 15 minutes further north than that. I had to do the leg work and call doctors in my town to see if they accepted VA/Tri-West. I found 3 that did, and scheduled an appointment. When I called back to tell them, Tri-West Rep then wrote in her notes that I had previous appointment scheduled and cancelled my authorization. It’s like they want to make it so difficult that you just end up using the VA, but they can log the phone hours with the Vets.

  25. donald    

    Having a primary care doctor who speaks understandable English and who was trained in our country would be a real boost to vet care.

    1. Jim Beam    

      That is true, YOU can change your physician to another just by asking !

    2. John Ferrari    

      You can indeed change your physician, but it’s like pulling teeth. I was going through this one health care agent who had given me dozens of excuses that the change wasn’t occurring. From volunteers being sloppy in their work to have meetings two times a year. Finally had enough, mailed the director of the hospital and, in no time, had a different doctor. In fact, after that incident, I never did see that woman ever again. Make Waves sooner or later; someone will listen to you.

  26. Susan Cooper    

    I am very disappointed in the VA dental program. Front tooth removed 6 months ago with nothing done about getting an implant. There are so many Veterans that cannot get appropriate dental care. Partial no longer fits properly. I am just one of many very frustrating.

  27. Eddy Avila    

    And whow about including dental care for all Veterans regardless of their disability rating?

    1. Pissed Off Veteran    

      Because a pound of cure is more lucrative than an ounce of prevention. THIS is what happens when healthcare is a business.

      Remember how we made fun of British people’s teeth back in the day? Well, we got their health care program now. Literally. Americans will all be sick, fat, and toothless as our national description. Something to be proud of, right? *farrrrt* SMH.

  28. Bill Perry    

    When is VA going to approve the new presumptive conditions list for Veterans exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam? It’s time to do the right thing. It’s time to stop dragging your feet Secretary Wilkie.

    1. Dennis Marble    

      I agree 100%! I have Multiple System Atrophy a subset of Parkinson’s but it has faster progression and worse outcomes. It is a rare (0.6 patients per 1,00,000) brain disorder that affects the nerves with no cure and ends with death. Medicines to help with just the Orthostatic Hypotension portion retail for $2,773.13. Severe chronic insomnia with sleep averaging Zero to 3.1 hrs/night. No medicines effective. Incontinence, Erectile Dysfunction, Fatigue, Voice Changes, Swallowing Difficulty, Constipation, Poor Balance, Low Blood Pressure, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness and Falling Asleep (even at stop lights), Rhinorrhea, Anxiety, Dry Mouth, Mood Changes to include Anger and Irritability, Numbness in Feet and Arms and more.

      Mr. Wilkie, Vets like me and our families need some immediate help to get the benefits we earned and deserve. So, what are you doing to get Congress to do their job? Parkinsonism was recommended to be added years ago. Are they waiting for us to die before they pass the bill? U.S. Army Ranger

  29. William J Gustafson    

    I received excellent hearing care and new state of the art hearing from the Hampton VA. I am so grateful as I am retired.

  30. Winston Cannon    

    I have received excellent VA care in Southern California. My general proaction doctor – who is great, by the way – referred me to the Gastrointestinal Department at the VA Hospital in San Diego. I have had a, Double colonoscopy where they found cancer, also a CT Scan, an MRI, and plenty of lab work. They have been great. I will be operated n a couple of weeks. All the doctors, nurses, technicians, etc. have been extremely nice and competent. In the past two months, I have received 4 phone calls from my doctor and surgeon – This is unheard of, as in the past no doctor has ever called me when I received services outside the VA. They always had a nurse call and give me the message. I am very impressed at the New VA Medical Care that the present administration has established. The thing in that the VA has had problems in the past as previous administrations have done little for our Veterans. The new administration is fixing the problems that existed in the past. That is why you see the VA Health Care System get better and better all the time. When a huge health care system makes 57 million appointments a year, a few complaints are going to be made. Ii was shocked when I read previous messages complaining about out wonderfully new VA Health Care System.

  31. Moira Sima    

    I was in the USN from 1984 thru 1988 active, 2 years inactive 1988 thru 1990. Honorable discharge, good conduct, commendations yada yada. Upon getting out I stayed in civil service in CA. I moved back to my home state in southen il in 1996. According to all the benefit guides, reading I believe I was eligible for care at the VA. BUT GUESS WHAT I was denied. Pathetic. I was told I qualified for NOTHING!!

    I do not want a call or an email. I’m too old and sick now to deal with the stress of fighting about medical or education benefits I was denied.

  32. Michael Snyder    

    It is hilarious black humor to talk about a “community care” alternative that offers two main choices: CRAssociates (which is the worst) is blatantly for-profit, and they cut corners whenever possible regardless of the consequences. A civilian receiving “care” from CRAss could sue them for malpractice. And Tri-West? Just as bad. If these “cut-corner” businesses weren’t so bad WHY ARE VETERANS NOT ABLE TO GIVE FEEDBACK ON THEIR EXPERIENCES? Tri-West was stealing millions of dollars (clerical error?) by overbilling for “care” provided. Google “Phoenix Sun” and read how outsourced VA “healthcare” is a scam. For-profit community providers overbilled the VA for more than$ 100,000,000.

    1. Kurt Prinz    

      It would be nice if they could make it a little faster process for vets who are service connected to get there % raised . I have a TBI rated at 0% . I don’t get it . My memory is toast and I’m only 53 .. Seriously , Who has a service connected TBI rated @ 0% .

  33. Msabah Rashidi Sange    

    I would like my health problem to be resolved quickly.

  34. Melvin l Chambless jr    

    Thanks for the service that you have given me!

  35. Butch Daniel    

    Bureaucratic hype. This is not the REAL VA. This is the VA you put on MSNBC at night to show how well Vet’s are taken care of.

    The real VA takes away much needed pain medication – TO LEAD THE WAY IN FIGHTING THE OPIOD CRISIS. Translated – that means the VA saves money by not prescribing effective pain medications. Congratulations – saved the VA more money.

    Acid reflux medications are next. the current methodology of providing effective antacid medication is expensive. The answer? Quite prescribing them to veterans.

  36. FREDERICK DAILEY    

    Is this the same Secretary Willkie who knowingly violates Federal Whistleblower Laws to try to find dirt on a Congressional staff member? If yes, why are you still there?

    1. K.P.    

      I concur about the opioid situation . Refusing to give vets some pain Relief when it’s crucial is neglect at best . . I used to get 20 a month which worked for me . If i needed Some pain relief , I took one . I don’t crush the extended pain relief pills nor am I addicted . Vets shouldn’t be penalized for The actions of a few who abused them . I’ve jumped through every hoop there is and I’ve been a regular customer at thePain Clinic but that isn’t helping . The pain clinic is where your provider sends you to because they don’t want to get in trouble by giving a opioid prescription so they make it someone else’s problem . A little Pontius Pilate action With the washing of the hands .
      I will say this , where I live it’s not the greatest neighborhood. So when a vet is in excruciating pain , they turn to street drugs like heroin and opioids . Sadly , some have passed away where I live . I live in a apartment complex that houses vets and it’s sad to see .

  37. James tobleck    

    I soent a lot of time writing you and your censorship of whats really happening here to me proves your complete b.s. for the vast number of vets out in the fly over states. Ive written numerous times to Wilkie and not even a thank you note. Just another appointed bumb.

  38. James tobleck    

    You cancled my comments again. More Wilkie bullsht , here in W.Mi. we are stone age . I guess I’ll have to drive to Washington and drop in on him and my congressman and Senators.

  39. James tobleck    

    The VA I read about here is fantasy land to this vet here i. WEST Mi. My Directors not been able to get my dental bill paid though I’ve submitted it 12 times with absolutely no response . My knee replacement is on hold because the VA chose a terrible contractor TRIWEST whose own 3 page authorization letter to me states its all covered but refuses to pay the begining bill $198.00 . Now if the orthopedic surgeons infection sample isnt paid WHY WOULD any other be paid. I’m not going bankrupt again! As my dentist said to me the VAs a dead beat organization. He was right. Maybe Sec. Wilkie will show me around the fancy VA in Washington next time I’m in town visiting my congressman and Senators with my 5 ft. high pile of paoerwork. You only owe me 30+ years if back pay.

  40. LEE BEAR    

    Why is it that those of us who are not eligible for dental work from the VA can no longer even get a second opinion from a VA dentist as to weather the work that our outside dentist wants to do is needed or necessary.We used have this benefit and now i am told it was discontinued about a year ago.I have found at times dentists will do work you do not need just to run up your bill.Hope someone can give me an answer on this.

  41. William Lane    

    When will the Caregiver program be expanded to include us Vietnam Veterans?
    Why weren’t we included in the first place?

  42. Michael Lee    

    Why is it that we can not email the veterans affairs secretary , and receive a response?.

  43. Dawn McLeod    

    I Think the VA needs to manage patients with extreme pain better I have mutable spinal issues that cause me to be in extreme pain. I have ask for pain medication and pain management refusal till I was blue in the face to no avail. I had a FX pelvic bone and saw the orthopedic Dr who would not give me ANYTHING for pain. Pain scale was 10. Cam into appt in Wheelchair could not walk into appt. I had to go to a non VA hospital and drove myself to hospital in extreme pain only making it worse to get the pain medication I needed. Their needs to be something done about pain management for veterans so they do not have to suffer.

    1. douglas poeschl    

      I have suffered from chronic pain for years, I’ve gone through VA pain management programs and external programs to no avail. Doctors are afraid to prescribe anything that WORKS, yet I could go down to the street corner and buy just about any illegal substance I want. No wonder there is such an alarming suicide rate among vets. Go figure.

      1. Jonathan Eric Keeter    

        I Agree 100% I’ve been in pain since 1979. They’ve just started helping me.
        I’m given IBUPROFEN for pain.
        Just got compensated 10% in 2012
        It’s hard for me to believe in them anymore.

      2. CJG    

        You’re absolutely not alone in the Chronic Pain. I have been prescribed 20 MG of methadone per day for over 10 years to keep me from rolling around in bed suffering extreme nerve damage. Now the “Opioid Epidemic” misinterpretation has hit. My primary tells me the reason he cut my pain med (methadone) in half was purely administrative. WTF. Whatever happened to doctors who actually fought for the patients? Now, afraid of admin repercussions, primaries are more concerned with their admin record.

  44. Arnold Cabral    

    To Veterans and Spread my belief not even Veterans email your Senators or Representative asked to contact the Veteran Affairs Committee passed a new Benefit Law for Disabled Veterans who is 100 percent service connected needs a Dentist know how to G4 implants for free because they don’t one work for Veteran Medical Centers or have a contract with Veteran Affairs Administration and if a Disabled Veterans who is 100 percent service connected doesn’t get the G4 implants it will really bad Gums Disease also it may cause Health Problems and it would cause Cancer……Semper Fi

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