Dr. Richard Stone, VA Executive in Charge: VA is here for Veterans during COVID-19



VA has always been here for Veterans — and we will continue to be here for you during the COVID-19 crisis. Whether you need a prescription, telemedicine or in-person care, you can rely on VA. Here is a recent message from Dr. Richard Stone, executive in charge of the Veterans Health Administration and a former U.S. Army combat physician.

My name is Rich Stone. I have the privilege of being the executive in charge of the Veterans health care system. What that means is I get to lead the health care system that you and I use as Veterans.  

I, like you, am a Veteran. I get my care at VA hospitals, and all of these events regarding coronavirus are frankly concerning for the continuity of my own health care as well as yours. I know you’re all concerned, and I want to talk to you today about the types of things that you can do to help us and help your fellow Veterans get through this crisis.  

Number one, I want to reassure you that we will be here for you throughout this crisis. There will always be capacity in our system for you as a Veteran to be seen should you choose to do so. In addition, our community care program continues to work hard to make sure that civilian doctors are available if that’s what you choose.

But in times of great pressure on the health care systems with increasing numbers of coronavirus patients, it could be that your civilian provider is not available. I want you to know that we are. I would ask you to call your local VA Medical Center, talk to them. It may take us a few minutes to answer the phone during periods of very high demand, but we will be here.

We’ll help you refill a prescription. We’ll do a telemedicine visit if that’s appropriate, and we’ll see you in person if you need us. We are going to be here just like we have been for the last hundred years. And if you have any questions, talk to your provider. Call us, and we look forward to working with you as we work our way through these unprecedented times. Thank you very much. 

For the latest VA updates on COVID-19, visit https://www.va.gov/coronavirus

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Thomas C Wiggins Jr    

    If I have to go to ER. Am I covered under Community care? I got a E mail that it is suspended for 90 days. I live 3 hrs from VA hosp. 30%

  2. Steven Canter    

    Sam, SW is right: “Service Connected” sounds like is the thing She may need to get coverage through the VA. It will take a Very smart VSO that knows how to research Her travels during her 4 years in the Army. What she was around on bases and how her MOS subject her to possible Environmental conditions. Make sure she is already signed up with a VA Card and has her DD214 in hand when able to meet with a Qualified VSO. Hard to find a Good VSO, But when able to go to a VA Hospital and talk to Vets hanging around, near or around, the Mental Health building, Talk to these Vets, many have been through Hell and Back to get there Benefits. These, in many cases are the ones that can help guide you through the Shi- ! We (Vet’s) are the only ones that got your back and are there for you, We are all We have is Each Other, Brother, Gods Speed. Steve C

  3. Fermin Gonzales    

    We trained /train for this type of enemy Biological and chemical warfare, we have stockpiles of equipment and trained personnel in every soldier to use it.
    We have MASH units that could of, should been set up on the coast lines to receive sick people of the world and treat them at the borders / coastlines instead of bringing them into the cities.
    We say that soap and water can kill the virus so why do we not have portable decon locations like car wash stations for medical personnel and first responders to relieve the demand on the one use of equipment and supplies ie… masks,gloves,gowns.
    Come soldiers let’s use our heads for solutions and not just hat racks.

  4. lisa sutton    

    I have heard that temps are not being taken at the front door before patients go in the hospital. They are asking questions only. Do you know how easy it is to lie? This should not be left to chance. Take the temps at minimum. Then you ask if they’ve been out of the country. No way to check that one out. Then you ask if you have been around anyone with Covid 19. Well the incubation period is 2 weeks so the answer is PROBABLY. I have to say it is very sketchy that a large hospital that is a part of the government no less doesn’t take temps. Also, a patient had been tested for Covid the day before he came to the hospital for an x-ray. He hadn’t got the results of the test yet but was allowed in the hospital around all staff etc. He should have been sent home or given a face shield so he wouldn’t infect anyone else. This is common sense.

  5. Jodie Sykes    

    Greetings,
    For OIF and OEF campaigns,Veterans like myself who are suffering from respiratory conditions from being exposed to burn-pits,we are high risk candidates of contracting coronavirus. Some of us had dry coughs that have not went away since returning back along with other associated medical ailments from the exposure, which are service connected. My question to VA Executive Administration Board,is why are you all not treating this Airborne Burn-pit Hazardous Exposure,like the new Agent Orange, which many private sector pulmonary specialists and doctors are calling it just that? I have read your many of website stances, on this and I am not totally satisfied with the final collusive answers, of there not being enough collected medical data to go forward and the low ball compensation ratings conditions associated for it, for those of us whom are affected by this, to do anything for us. Some state lawmakers are looking at passing legislation on behalf of us Veterans who are suffering from Airborne Burn-pit Hazardous Exposure. For some of us Veterans who are tremendously affected by this exposure of many of us are living a everyday nightmare and debilitating livilhoods with it.

  6. S W    

    “Whether you need a prescription, telemedicine or in-person care, you can rely on VA.”
    Quoted straight from this story, and that’s all it is, a story to try and make veterans feel good. It’s a total bunch of LIES. All in person visits are or have already been cancelled. The only people V.A. is seeing right now is anyone who comes into the E.D. with the sniffles. They have been given priority over everyone else. Anyone with an injury, having a heart attack, dying from COPD and can’t breath are made to wait hours to be seen. The Togus V.A. Medical Center in Maine went so far as to tell patients who are waiting that if they don’t like it they can go find another hospital to be seen at. That’s “being there for you” (sarcasm added). If I can still get IN PERSON appointments then, that’s exactly what I want, today, tomorrow, NOT 60 days from now. Stop lying to veterans!! Get one thing straight right now, DO NOT EVER LIE TO ME!
    By the way, I want dr Stone to respond to me personally.

  7. sam derrick    

    i know there will be NO help here. my wife was in Army 1976-1980.cannot get any benefits.all we want is prescription help..she will be starting CHEMO soon. they say we make too much and keep passing us around to call OTHERS. she is too young for medicare..(63).we have sc BCBS but it has high deductibles. we pay 1,138 a month.she just had one half of her colon taken out.we have a 9yo adopted grand at home and 18yo grand also..he is in sc national guard. i am a 72yo vietnam vet..i do have VA benefits. NO one in VA system will help..they say call this person and they say call another.when she went in army as a young girl they told her about benefits..they forgot about the BS.barbara derrick..west columbia,sc… wish this on NO ONE

    1. Susan B Taylor    

      I may be able to help I am a veteran my self it took me a while but I now have them

      1. Joseph Garwood    

        ive been trying since OCTOBER 2019 technically July to get a fcking appointment. They cancelled my appointment that I made in Oct. Dec 31 at 330, on Dec 28th a get a letter telling me it had been cancelled and to call and make a new one. Several attempts and hours on the phone I finally get through and they tell me I am 8-10 weeks out from getting an approval just to MAKE an appointment and i have been 100% disabled for 10 years, they never have denied me, they wont, they cant. 8-10 weeks just to get an authorization for community care. wtf. thats just the start, You would not believe the sht Ive gone through. I am more than grateful to have any care at all, but it’s is NOT worth the Bull SHT

        1. Bob Bass    

          Contact your Congressman or Senator’s Office in the state where you live. They all have a person that is dedicated to just helping veterans. I promise you if you do this you’ll get quick results. I’ve been there and bought the T/shirt. They (VA) jump when you do this. Since you’re 100% gives you even more clout. Tell them your story. Do it ASAP. Good bless Brother Vet.

    2. Robert Adams    

      Visit the local American Legion post. Usually they have a Service officer in the VA hospital. Don’t give up, and Good Luck.

    3. S W    

      Sam, do you have a VSO (Veteran’s Service Officer)? That’s who you need to contact. If this guy Dr Richard Stone can work at V.A. and still get medical there with the income he must be earning, then your wife should be able to get medical help at the V.A. also. If she never signed up with V.A. for any services then that’s the first thing she needs to do now.
      Was her colon problem service connected? If not that may be part of the reason they aren’t helping her. The fact is that SHE IS A VETERAN and is entitled to benefits as much as any man. My best suggestion to you (you likely can not afford it) is get a lawyer. Make sure that lawyer is familiar with veteran laws, benefits, etc.

  8. Bob Henderson    

    Aside from scheduling, the Nashville VA, has provided some of the best health care I have experienced. Thank you for all you do!

  9. Clyde Sogla    

    I am so great full that I made it home and alive from my tour of duty from Vietnam. Thanks to all my buddies that made this possible. We served with the 4th Infantry Division from (1967 & 1968).

  10. Stephen Kepple    

    I am so grateful to have VA care, and am even more grateful for what the VA did for my dad, a WWII veteran who was rated 100% combat-disabled. No, the VA isn’t perfect, but what is? As far as I’m concerned, the VA could serve as an able model for a public option for health care (while maintaining private insurance options for those who want them and can afford them). Although my own health care is very affordable, we pay $753 a month for my wife’s standard Kaiser-Permanente insurance, with huge deductibles. It’s a crushing burden, and I don’t know how much longer we can afford it. We always live on the edge of health-care-related bankruptcy. And we are in better shape than the average American. This is madness; our country is going down the tubes when it comes to health care, we’ve got to do something about it or there will be chaos and worse.

  11. Pat G    

    Thanks to all veterans for your service. I am a nurse on the front line working long hours with limited equipment. I pray for none of you to catch this virus. Please stay at home. Your life is more important than a wheelchair or hearing aid. It’s best to reschedule your appointment than risk coming to a clinic or hospital unless you need emergency care. My VA hospital already has confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus. All of us are scared for you and our families. No one wants to bring the virus to there love ones. When this is all over please encourage Congress to hire more staff in the VA system. Presently 43000 job opening have not been filled for years. Get us staff and equipment so we can serve you better. Thank you.

  12. Brooke Espinoza    

    The VA will be there for every veteran in need? Sounds good on paper but found out otherwise this past weekend. On Friday I went to my local VA presenting symptoms that at the time I thought were or could be related to COVID-19. Not only was I told that I appeared young and healthy but also I was not able to enter the building (which I completely understand) but they sent me to a covid-19 triage nurse who took my name and phone number and assured me that a physician would call me on video within 24 hours. That was almost 6 days ago. Haven’t heard a word since.

  13. Wayne Harris    

    I used to be proud to be a vet, but that was before I started having to rely on the VA for medical care, the day before my appointment I was told it was changed to a phone appointment. Then after talking to my Pcp was told they had no idea when my test would be scheduled, depending on the virus. When I was a veteran, I was trained in NBC warfare, and did my job, Come on VA do your job, even if it puts you at risk, you didn’t mind putting us in harm’s way…

  14. Gary J Fortune    

    I am a 100 percent permanently disabled physician veteran. I had 5 appointments scheduled April 13th and was only notified by phone that 1 appointment was moved to June!

    I had 2 appointments which required injections to release trigger fingers and another related to skin lesions that need to be examined based on previous removal of skin cancer. The hand injections and dermatology appointment were NOT routine appointments that should be delayed. I teleconferences with my primary care physician but there is no guarantee if the VA would offer me outpatient appointments at civilian facilities at this time. By law, if the VA cannot provide the services within 30 days, they are required to pay for referrals for civilian care.

    Any delays in care, is considered malpractice and requires the VA to take care of the veteran. In this case, we are also talking about a category 1 veteran!

    I may be disabled and a retired physician, but I am not an idiosyncratic! I guess I will notify the BA OIG concerning
    your failure to take care of a this veteran!

  15. Dr. Bradford, Doss C.    

    I have a difficult time believing the VA cares. (I am trying to be as kind as possible, I am trying to say you are lying.) When it takes a 100% disabled veteran 3 months or more to get an appointment With the VA , your lying. Community care, what a joke! If you did care you wouldn’t under staff the people needed to approve us from getting the help we need in our own community. It took me over a year to get approval to see a local dentist. While there he saw my bridge was loose, it fell out the next day. I am now attempting to get that fixed, but with the virus problem, I am considered non essential. Don’t say you care, SHOW ME THAT YOU CARE!

  16. Stephanie    

    I guess the doctors didn’t get the memo because I have tried to call to make an appointment due to a foot injury and nobody is answering the phone. I showed up at the door of the hospital and was told only people with appointment could get in. So I sent a secure message to my PCM and still no appointment meanwhile might have ligament damages. So I am supposed to just show up to the ER if medical staff/doctors won’t do their jobs anymore?

  17. Robert Traudt    

    So two weeks ago my VA doctor sets me up for an MRI to determine where my pain is coming from. The first available appt date was May 6th. Today I was told the appointments are going to be cancelled while the hospital prepares for Corona patients.

  18. Justin Pettit    

    If the VA cares so much, then why did they remove the DBQ forms from their disability compensation pages?

    This is a flagrant attempt at reducing claims for disabled vets and it is beyond shameful.

    [Editor: https://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/dbq_disabilityexams.asp ]

    1. Justin Pettit    

      The VA is trying to make it harder for disabled veterans to receive the benefits they deserve by removing the ability to take a DBQ to your private provider. Call the Whitehouse VA hotline to tell them that this conflicts with the VA’s mission to serve us! Here is what their disability compensation page says now:

      “VBA has discontinued the use of public facing Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs).  Originally, public facing DBQs were designed to assist Veterans living overseas to obtain medical evidence in support of their benefit claims where limited options were available.  Today, VA works with contracted providers in more than 30 foreign countries to conduct disability medical examination.”

  19. SJ Roah    

    Overwhelmingly, VA healthcare unfortunately is pathetic! I have had a few VA healthcare professionals who are exceptional, but for the most part the bureaucratic hurdles we have to jump over to get an appointment, get a Rx refill that has expired, see a specialist or find a better drug/treatment…is entirely unacceptable. My experience has been, for more than 40 years, the VA’s only interest is assisting veterans with a band-aid approach; the cost of the drug or treatment is outweighed by its cost.

    There is not a single private doctors office, hospital, pharmacy or any other healthcare facility in this nation that could remain in business with the kind of treatment veterans receive from the VA. With the veteran’s well-being in mind, the system is just too big, too cumbersome and only interested in holding down costs to provide meaningful health care to this nation’s veterans. Lastly, I hope one day the VA healthcare system will be as good, if not better than the private health care system where people are treated with the best possible providers, not just nurse practitioners. Talk about “being there for us” rings hollow, compared to what has been offered. Mr. President are you hearing us?

  20. Russell Hansberry    

    I had an appointment and made an advance trip for the lab work and nobody told me they were cancelling my appointment. Then I showed up for the appointment and it was cancelled. I rescheduled, three months out. Then that one got cancelled too. The third time was the charm, but the extra labs were never used and the total time from first scheduling to final visit was getting close to a year before I was seen. Each trip to the VA runs me about $20 in transportation costs that are not reimbursed because it does not meet VA requirements for that. And the kicker is that all of this happened fairly recently before the Corona virus.

    I have also had some equally good outcomes at the VA. How can you tell veterans that the VA cares and will provide reliable service that we can count on when there is this much variability in service? You need to look at more than improvements in statistical averages, because so many veterans get the short end of the stick. The variability is killing your reputation among veterans and the public is hearing it too. By making claims you do not live up to, you destroy any credibility for the gains you have made. It is better for the VA to say less and be honest than to invent fiction that does more harm than good.

    For heaven’s sake, we need people who will take ownership of issues when a veteran complains, such as in some of these posts. If you do not have the budget, recruit volunteers. Train your medical staff to make exceptions. Get creative at solving problems. Look at the better VA facilities and see what they are doing right and figure out how to fix the rest. I have talked to my clinic management to get issues resolved. Sometimes procedures are national and get in the way. Other times something can be expedited. In the military, we could usually figure out how to get a job done despite process and procedures standing in the way. We need more of that in the VA. It also needs to be rewarded, at least with recognition if budget does not permit better. This should be an opportunity, not a problem.

    Thanks for hearing me out. I step down from my soap box.

  21. Chuck Dittell. M.Ed    

    How come we use UV LIGHT to sterilize millions on gallons of water and we dont use BR30 UV Lights in patients rooms or to protect our precious Doctors..?
    Help stop as much Covid-19 as possible by using UV LIGHTS.

  22. Jerome c Haver    

    Saddens me when a veteran has to ask question if VA will be open when all other hospitals are closed outside of the VA. We have to help the staff and doctors to get through this and do our part. If you are wondering about what the Va guidelines are, call and be proactive, it is your life, and the resources are still there. Without the Va I would 6ft under, without a doubt. Many friends complain of the things they are not getting while sitting on the couch, instead of what they are getting if you get off the couch. I count my blessings each day for all the care been receiving and the great work Doctors and staff are doing at the Va, while cutting through all the red tape. Va sets the ground work and it is the veteran job to do the leg work. Thank you.

  23. A. Wolfe    

    This is absolutely false. The VA is actively cancelling appointments which included my cancer screening. They are scheduling appointments as simple as labs more than a month out. They are not here for anyone during COVID 19. We still need and require care.

  24. Amanda Wolfe    

    This is absolutely false. The VA clinic I see, is scheduling appointments as simple as a lab more than a month out. I also had a cancer screening cancelled and rescheduled for July! I don’t feel like the VA is here for anyone at this time and it’s upsetting!

  25. Ranger Spruill    

    Thanks to many great personnel that work for the VA. They get [it] right I would say a high percentage of the time, and the remaining time/issues simply may have to be elevated to your Congressman/woman as a last resort! Rural and outlining areas with very little VA support/offices no doubt makes it harder to stay engaged, however with the internet, ability to go to Civilian facilities has made life a lot easier then it was several years ago!
    No doubt the VA has had some challenges for a very long time, however due to this massive Department coupled with the number of cases they deal with on a daily/yearly basis has to overwhelming for any Directorate/Staff – just keeping it real!

    No doubt Covid 19 will bring its share of concerns/claims in the coming months, as it is already wrecking havoc on the world over, so let’s be patient, follow the advice of the health experts and watch out for one another (Battle Buddy concept), our families, neighbors and one another!

    That said, everyone Service Member is important I think we all can agree, every ailment is a priority, no conflict trumps another conflict, and all ranks have their privileges, and all regions of the country should be treated equally – and while it may not seem fair, so isn’t life; but in the meantime and in between time – it’s what we have!

    Keep the faith, stay in touch with your DAV Representative, and take care as best ya can!

    RANGER SPRUILL

  26. Gary Williams Long    

    I need to be seen in order to renew my blood pressure medicine. I tried to make an appointment online at the Durham VA Medical Center for the end of March/first of April, but I was notified the next day that my appointments were canceled. So, how do I get my medicine??

  27. John Wernau    

    VA does not currently authorize mail-order for pharmaceuticals that are prescribed by non-VA doctors. I recommend VA consider authorizing an emergency change to this policy to help reduce the need for VA appointment visits for routine meds and to keep our Veterans safe at home out of lines at drug stores.

  28. LEE, E. N.    

    Please post a hyperlink on the home page on the web site for the hospital concerning exact details about how veterans (who do not have symptoms of CoViD 19 ) may receive a test for CoViD 19. I need details about receiving testing at a Veteran Administration facility in Georgia.

    I do not want to call a telephone number so that I can hold for one hour and then your operator disconnect my call.

    I cannot use a vague, general statement.

    1. shane larsonn    

      Seems your not going to get a response in a timely manner… I to would like to bloody know this but for Utah last I heard was they had 400 testing kits for all of Utah so what are you doing about it VA?

  29. Veronica Bruce    

    I am a retired RN if needed in this crisis to ease some of this confusion I am available for any area of hospital care. Just want the VA community to know that I have my issues, just as we all do but these are changing times and we all need to give what we can in order to cope and have a satisfying experience with our local VA. Be Proactive in these difficult times and most of all be patient and positive.

  30. Richard Buckner    

    Is that why you closed our VA Hospital in Marion, Indiana ?

  31. Joseph h masters    

    I’m a 63 year old veteran,
    Thank you Dr.Stone and the VA Ann Arbor for all the help and care you have given me! It could not be better the way I have been treated.
    Hard to see it could be any better!

    Thanks again
    Sgt Masters

  32. Vicky Lyons    

    I have been told by the VA that even though I am not entitled to any services through the VA since I have no disability. Is that true?

    [Editor: Please visit VA.gov to learn more about ALL of VA’s benefits and services.]

  33. James David Mitchell    

    I am Vietnam Vet. Served 1967/1968 in Nam. I’m in the VA system (Have my card) For 56 years I worked for and Engineering firm Except the time I was drafted and served in the US ARMY. after Nam..I returned to the same job and used my company Insurance till I retired last March. I have several meds. prescribed and had rolled the insurance over to my private payment for a while. but the cost has become to much for me on Social security alone. I need to be able to get my meds from the VA but cant see a VA doctor now to list him as my primary Doctor. I have Several good civilian doctors who have been taking care of me. 1. Family Doctor 2. Kidney Doctor 3. Heart Doctor 4. Dermatologist 5. Foot and Leg Doctor.
    All good Doctors but my insurance and co pay are hard to swallow, now that I am on my own. I need to get my meds from the VA and would be happy to continue with these Doctors if I didn’t have the steep cost of Meds I understand that I have an appointment with a doctor (PC-DHABAAN) @ ATLANTA VA ARCADIA CLINIC on Monday March 30, 2020 Time 2:30 PM. I had been waiting for this appointment for 3 months. I would like to set up orders for my meds on line. And continue the same scrips that are now being prescribed for me. But I was told that the VA Doctor would call me back and discuss the meds.
    HE HAS NOT CALLED. I was directed to the Atlanta Arcadia clinic because the closest three clinics would not see me three months ago because they say they were full. I have (My Vet .Com.) on my computer and would love to order meds there if it could be set up. I know the Corona Virus has put dampers on our visits, and I know that safety first is best So I’m happy to stay tucked in here at home. Is there some way to correlate my Doctors prescriptions with the VA. Re: Hypertension….Atrial Fib….Gout…Nephropathy…/.Stage 3 Kidney failure…Skin sores and Agent Orange?

    1. Pamela Porter    

      Mr. Mitchell,
      Thank you for your service. You do not mention of you’re service connected for these disabilities/conditions. If not, I strongly suggest you apply immediately this will place you in a higher priority category for services. Currently many if not most of the CBOC and VAMC are conducting telephone or Skype appointments. Ask if this is an option for you.

      You can scan your current civil prescriptions so they’re already in your file so when the VA physican does contact he/she has the ability to verify that you are in fact on those meds. This might help, but typically you must be seen & assess by the VA physican prior to being prescribed medication. Not sure if the current situation (COVID 19) might temporarily change this.

      If you don’t hear from doctor, consider reaching out to patient Adovate.

      Good luck

      1. Daryl Carlton    

        You need to Register for the Agent Orange registry. What you are talking about could take you years to accomplish. It took me longer than that and I have everything you mentioned. You can forget the VA sending you medication prescriptions sighted by non VA Doctors. That is not going to happen. The very first thing you need to start with is the Agent Orange Registry. Good luck

    2. Daryl Carlton    

      First thing you need to do is go to the nearest VA Hospital and sigh up for the Agent Orange Registry, bring your DD214 to show you were in Vietnam. To be honest, unless they have changed things, the VA is very slow to hand out medications from outside Doctors prescriptions. You should’ve started this process years ago and you would be in the system and getting the help you need. I heard they have a new Fast Track System to get you started and I hope that will help you. Seriously go down and register with the Agent Orange Registry’s program. Start as soon as you can but the Tampa, Fl. VA Hospital is closed for the Coronavirus emergency when they should be open. I never heard of a hospital closing.

  34. Christopher Hauck    

    Have only good to say over my years as their patient. Helpful, considerate and honest are my impressions. Very good people.

  35. Catherine G. Ratliff    

    Why doesn’t every VA hospital have rapid T2 Biosystems diagnostic system? It would prevent sepsis deaths. Sepsis is a public health emergency, and veterans are more susceptible because they are older.

  36. Robert J. Gerwer    

    First time checking since last week. Up until then, the standard reply from the VA (in print) was if you thought you had Covid 19, was to check with one’s local VA, who would suggest (if the symptoms suggested it) that you call a local ER before going there. Why the heck doesn’t the VA have test kits on hand? I saw on TV, the time the VA Secretary made the statement that the VA was “there” to help, if the civilian medical system got overwhelmed! Help with WHAT??? If you aren’t taking care of vets, how are you supposed to take care of civilian overflow?

  37. Frederick Arcand    

    The Manchester VA has always been good for me, regardless of my medical and mental health problems over the years!
    A special call out to Dr. Kathleen Rekart (Psychologist) who has established Video Conferencing for those of us with PTSD, ANXIETY and DEPRESSION. She s literally a life saver

  38. Judy Montoya    

    We, our brothers entire family are very disgusted with the substandard care he has been receiving as a patient at the Houston Veterans Hospital which has contributed to many of the health issues from which he is currently suffering. He’s in end stage renal failure, has dangerously low blood pressure, is anemic, has heart issues, developed an infection and the list goes on. He very recently had surgery to amputate his leg further up from below the knee to mid thigh. Because of an error the wrong leg was prepped. Luckily the error was caught. All this and in his weakened condition, the “powers that be” want him discharged. We will not allow this man who fought for his country including those disgusting excuses for human beings, to be treated like he doesn’t matter. He is NOT alone and WE WILL fight for the kind of care he so justly deserves. We are proud to call this kind, proud, highly educated man our Brother, Father and Grandfather.

  39. Willow Yörük    

    I want to first say, the VA clinic/hospital, they are here for you. Unfortunately with the low salaries they offer, they are unable to be up to date or even surpass other entities in terms of software, hardware, everyware and anyware. So they move a little slower than they should, but they are still moving as fast as the computer will let them, to help the veteran. I do agree that it is stressful that veterans have to reschedule. If it is available for video, veteran should still be seen by video. If it is a hands-on appointment, for the veterans safety, also for the providers and clerks safety, the best thing is to reschedule the appointment. If they cannot schedule a veteran within a certain amount of days, or if veteran lives far away, yes, the veteran can be requesting to see an outside provider. The outside provider however, may not have an appointment available until after the VA clinic availability. Also, the outside provider may not be able to fully understand the veteran if they are not a veteran, or don’t know any veterans. At anytime, if a veteran feels that way, they can always go back to the VA, no need to worry about continuing visits with the outside doctor. When it is a global crisis, the VA is more concerned with your safety and health, than a hearing aide request. The VA wants to protect you, even if you don’t want that protection. In regards to the “no visitors” … No one should want to bring their children or relative or friend, inside the VA with them. There are other viruses that are going around (flu/cold/etc.) that you would not want your loved ones to be around and possibly catch. It is a VA clinic, people go there that don’t feel good. Be responsible all the time, not just now. There are rules and regulations being passed to them from above them, they cannot make a decision on their own to say, no more scanning, let all the sick people in and congregate. If they did that when a pandemic is happening, letting my family member inside… I would be livid. That is why they don’t. Call your VA and see the options for your physical and mental health appointment or, possibly you just need to ask a nurse a question , they can call you back. If not, everyone has to wait depending on the severity and need. Veteran can use the Community Care information on website if you are eligible. The VA cares. Reach out again of the first time you felt like you weren’t heard. Log in to your MyHealthEVet account and email a message to your doctor within the secure messaging system. Maybe it is better to write it out. And make sure all of your points or concerns are included. The VA Cares!

    1. Kelly Weaver    

      I have been calling my provider for over a week. It is busy 24/7.
      214-857-0917 Diamond Team.

    2. Barbara Gonzales    

      The VA cares? Prove it! Actions speak louder than words and I fail to understand wanting a hospice patient transferred out is caring. DO BETTER!.

  40. Barbara Gonzales    

    I’d like to know why with everything going on the VA would try and discharge my brother who is in the Houston VA? He is on hospice and this is very hard on the family. We have ask for him to stay there on hospice and do not expect him to make it through the week. Instead of having some compassion the VA is more concerned with not having the death reflect on their stats. I am beyond discussed with the Houston VA and would like to under what on Earth your people are thinking?

    1. Kevin Nelezen    

      In my personal experience the Houston VA was the absolute worst facility I had ever used!

  41. Michael Augustine    

    Hi Andrew,

    If you are considering suicide please contact the suicide prevention hotline.

    1-800-273-8255

    https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/

    Just remember there are folks/vets out there that care about you and are willing to help. Don’t give up.

    Take Care
    Mike

  42. MH    

    Why aren’t VA hospitals allowing non-essential staff to telework

    1. Willow Yörük    

      Who is considered “non-essential”?! I cannot find it anywhere. Have you sent in the tele-work form request? I am hoping they will let most Clerks work from home.

  43. Tony's Knickerbocker    

    I am a retired Navy veteran. Female.
    I go to the Ann Arbor Mi veterans hospital. I was treated very poorly the other day. Specifically on 17 Mar 2020. I receive daily medical care from the community because the VA does not provide the service I require. I’m supposed to receive travel pay each day, a month at a time for every day I travel to the community medical Center. I was told on 17 Mar 2020 that I may or may not receive travel pay because the VA hospital travel section is shut down. It was a crap shoot whether I would be given travel pay. The man said he’d call me. He never did. I did receive the pay but what about next month. And the month after that.

  44. Ron Sherman    

    Interesting this message, i thought i had coronavirus (fever, dry cough etc) on monday mar 16, so i called the local va here in Colorado Springs, CO to get tested. I got put on hold to be transferred to a nurse. Then i waited 3 hours on hold before someone finally just hungup on me. Called back the next day Tuesday, same exact thing happened. I gave up. All I really needed was a drs note so i could go to the civilian drive thru test place and it was impossible. Really hoping i dont get worse and actually need help from them. Why oh why did i cancel my civilian insurance thru work? What a mistake.

    1. Virgle Samples    

      Is this the Ron Sherman that was a ch54 pilot

    2. Brooke Espinoza    

      Same here, Ron. I went to the Long Beach California VA on Friday morning of last week and was told to give them my name and number and they would have a physician call me within 24 hours for a video chat. Here it is Wednesday evening and I haven’t heard one word from the VA. I can understand that they are overwhelmed, but do they understand the risk of not even getting back to us? It’s kind of risky business.

  45. Andrew Creason    

    The very first line is a lie. I am a veteran and have a honorable discharge for something related to mental health issues. I went to VA and was automatically denied without even being seen. I was told i can’t have benefits only because I didn’t serve 24 consecutive months. The way I’ve been turned away and now read reports that they are contemplating giving those with dishonorable discharges benefits makes me want to be the next veteran that falls victim to suicide in their parking lot. Almost 18 years later and the Army is still the longest job I’ve been able to hold down because of the issues i suffered in the Army. Between the Army and the VA are the reason i hate our government and all politicians.

  46. Traci .ann Nelthropp    

    Thank you, your support is very much appreciated.
    Veteran,
    Traci a. Nelthropp

  47. Eddie Lee Hooker    

    I am in diner need of my NGB forms 22 and 23 in order to compete my VA homeowner mortgage application. I was told by the documents representative at camp Bureguard la that all of my documents were destroyed during hurricane Katrina and my all of my documents could or maybe located in the national archives and if not could be made over if not found. Eddie lee Hooker Enlisted around Feb 1981 to 1987 in the 528 engineering battalion base in Monroe Louisiana.

    1. Willow    

      Those who need to submit a request for a replacement NGB-22 can use the same form and procedure as those seeking replacement copies of the DD Form 214. If you need to request both a DD214 and an NGB-22, it’s best to submit a separate request for each document to avoid confusion at processing time–unless otherwise directed by the National Personnel Records Center.
      If you have lost your NGB-22, you can request a replacement copy from the National Archives in St. Louis. Follow the instructions at: http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/standard-form-180.html#ways

  48. Jerome Grant    

    IF YOU KNOW WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE POINT THEM OUT TO THE PUBLIC SO THAT THE WORLD WON’T BE HELD HOSTAGE

  49. John Autrey    

    Nobody is saying anything about helping Veterans with a VA home losn.Why is that

  50. Bernard lizotte    

    Is there someone I can speak to.about a jurisdictional problem am having? I do not wish to interrupt your coronavirus help but I have been pushed aside because of where i.live in winter vs where I live in summer.
    How about an ombudsman?

    1. Willow    

      Your PCP / PACT will work with Traveling Veteran Coordinator for assistance in transferring your care and establishing an appointment at the new facility. It will show you are temporarily at the new facility and that way, records can be shared. You let them know how many months you plan to be there.

  51. Jeri Batsford    

    I’m sitting here busted up bc of your VA care.
    Never trust any of you.
    U suck!

    1. MGMac    

      I feel the same way and have been let down by the V.A. countless times. I dread going to the V.A. & hope I nor any of you get sick under the circumstances.

  52. RBWS    

    NO !!! The VA is NOT there for the veterans. The VA is so concerned with “insulating” the medical staff that you can’t get an appointment, if you have an appointment – most are being cancelled, try getting your broken hearing aid fixed so you can hear at work and get told you can’t bring it in until the virus thing clears, Try getting in to see a doc for your diabetes and get told it’s not life threatening, come in when the virus thing is over. I’ve heard these conversations myself while trying to calm other vets….. so I know FIRST-HAND that the VA doesn’t give a rat’s azz about veterans right now….the VA has people at the clinics and hospitals but you can NOT be seen by them

    1. Kevin Nelezen    

      I had an appointment today to get my wheelchair. It was cancelled. They don’t care! I was told that I could wait until this pandemic is over. My appointment was cancelled indefinitely until this is over. Yeah, they don’t care that I can’t get around, or use the bathroom. But hey, it doesn’t affect them!

  53. Leona R.Standage    

    Please I have tried to resolve a issue with our VA here in WallaWalla, Washington, since September 18 of 2019. I have contacted all those in the chain of command to my congresswomen Kathy MC Morris Rogers. The situation still is not resolved.
    This involves a provider. This incident almost cost me my husband of almost 31 years.
    I would really like to talk to someone who really cares for our veterans.

  54. Paul Pate    

    I recently had to visit VA in Aurora Co for a serious issue…firstly, I was jumped on, beat, and arrested in front of grand daughter for NO reason, later released and cited…and since can get NO ONE from there to call me to resolve this….secondly, the place was a ghost town…all clinics closed…no one working and screening at the entrance made it quite clear if you have virus symptoms you aren’t allowed in…what’s up with all that?
    No vet deserves to be treated the way I was and no one will call me.

  55. Jeffrey Wansley    

    I think the VA should refrain from allowing all outside visitors into all VA facilities including the Domiciliary. Who knows where these people have been and/or who they have been around. As a resident of the West Palm Beach VAMC Domilcilary I am concerned with allowing other residents to entertain outside visitors. In most cases the visitors are NOT immediate family.

  56. Lawrence Kelley III    

    I am a HUD-VASH service disabled Marine veteran with serious life-threatening health conditions, physical disabilities & severe PTSD. I live in Gainesville FL & my case manager is Ms. Dunmire.
    I AM MAKING AN EMERGENCY REQUEST TO SECRETARY WILKIE & PRESIDENT TRUMP TO HAVE HUD SECRETARY CARSON ISSUE A STAY OF ALL HUD & HUD-VASH TENANT EVICTIONS FOR 60 DAYS, JUST AS HUD HAS FOR ALL HUD & FHA FORECLOSURES & EVICTIONS.
    My landlord has filed a completely phony eviction complaint against me after he got cited for major building code violations and is retaliating against me in violation of both HUD & Florida tenant laws.
    The courts here in Alachua County are very unfair and use illegal procedures to evict all HUD tenants depriving them of full Due Process. I could lose my HUD voucher if my landlord & his unethical attorney succeed in court.
    Please take steps to help all us most vulnerable, impoverished HUD-VASH veteran tenants. I’m a nervous wreck trying to fight this phony eviction based on false claims of lease violation

  57. Booker T Lakes    

    I have been waiting on my case appeal for over 14 months. I was station at Fort Ord during 1972 and was put on a detail to wrap barrels of agent orange. We become soak with it because the barrels leak. The next day all of us were hospitalized. I stayed for one week
    Now, because I didn’t have boots on the ground, I have been mistreated. I have 7 of the illnesses that are listed. I am 70yrs old. I join during wartime and followed orders . Why is the veterans in my situation being overlook.

  58. Alfred Vallejos jr    

    If we the veteran can’t get an appointment for over 3 months now with this virus are the wait time going to get better?

    1. Willow    

      People cancel last minute a lot, I would call periodically and see if there is an opening. And look up the Community Care info on the VA website to utilize as well

  59. Joe Ooten    

    Then why was my appt canceled today. At va.

  60. Ramon A.    

    I would like the VA to stop discriminating against people that aren’t black and to stop demeaning, harassing and disrespecting people that aren’t black. I thought we were all equal veterans. But the. Dallas VA hospital, VBA, VA OIG and VISN 17 do the exact same things and no-one at the top of VA is willing to do anything.

  61. Michael Joe Joyce    

    6 November 2018 I had lumbar fusion surgery. I have degenerative disc disease. It is now in my mid back and especially my neck. I am in constant pain and I am tired of suffering. My Primary Care Physician Dr. Sunitha Nair is a great Physician and I like her. My problem is that as she told me she will not prescribe any pain medications unless you are terminally ill. This is wrong, terribly wrong. I totally get the opioid epidemic. Studies have shown that a lot of these cases where deaths have occurred are from people that abused not only opioids but other illegal drugs as well. I don’t drink, I have never abused any drug. I am a devout Christian. My state of Oklahoma has legalized medical marijuana. I can’t do that. I still consider it an illegal drug.

    I have been prescribed Gabapentin and Baclofen. No help.

    My question is simple, Why do I have to suffer? I’m tired.

    Thank you,
    Michael Joyce

  62. Jay Crawford    

    Re:Dr Stones message
    Will the VA test a veteran with symptoms or a senior veteran with underlying conditions??

  63. Stephen Wiest    

    Still waiting for my doctor to review my blood work from 10 days ago. It would be nice to know whats going on.

  64. Gerald m. Lawless    

    I need a hearing aid replacement but not allowed out 70 with health issues
    Jerry

  65. Brokenvet    

    This is a blatant lie. They are already canceling all appointments to Mid May.

  66. S W    

    Doesn’t this contradict the message sent out to all of VISN 1? That message told V.A. doctors to NOT have in person appointments with veterans and cancel up coming appointments and reschedule them for and after May 16, 2020.
    This is ridiculous. First veterans WERE NOT apprised of the fact that medical centers were locking most access doors and guiding vets to check in and be screened at specific entrances. Then they tell vets that in most cases they CAN NOT be accompanied during appointments, can not visit family in nursing home units. Next thing is that all appointments are to be cancelled and rescheduled to May. Now this story says or sounds like we can still have our scheduled appointments. What’s the real story here? Can vets be seen for scheduled appointments right now or not? This is very confusing. IF we are to be rescheduled then why haven’t most of my providers contacted me to reschedule? Don’t put it all on me to do the calling to reschedule, V.A. has a big responsibility in doing this.

  67. Coni Riel    

    Thank you ALL VAMC STAFF for everything y’all are doing during this crazy time in our lives. Many of us “younger” folk (I’m 54) haven’t lived troubled times, where triage and confusion, happened. I don’t expect cookies & coffee, nor do I care right now about any claims or if I can get to Physical Therapy, but God Bless those “Door Openers” and “Screeners” that are on the front lines of this invisible war we are all trying to combat together. Thank you for being there for ALL OF US…and we will support whatever decision the VA is faced with in return.

  68. Patrick -Bryan    

    Where was he to address the REMANDED APPEALS BACKLOG before this virus came to be?? Oh wait, NOWHERE TO BE FOUND, IS WHERE!!!

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