What Virginia Veterans Are Telling Us About the VA
Arlington, VA – Hundreds of veterans are sharing their experiences with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on MyVAStory.org, a new Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) platform which launched last week. The organization has been encouraging veterans from around the country to submit their stories to the website or on social media using #MyVAStory.
Here are a few of the stories we’re seeing in Virginia:
Phillip, Veteran: “I Still Haven’t Had My Tumor Removed.” “It took three months to see the endocrinologist, but she confirmed that yes, the tumor in my pituitary gland is causing Cushings Disease and that tumor needs to come out. That was May, and it is now mid-September and I still haven’t had the tumor removed.”
Elizabeth, Veteran: “I Waited Months to See a Specialist.” “Despite my military medical records and VA disability rating, doctors at the VA said there was ‘nothing wrong’ with me. I waited months to get in to see a specialist, who then referred me to another specialist, which was another couple months wait. I absolutely could not wait for treatment and I was forced to go to civilian doctors to get care/medication. I racked up $29,874 dollars in medical bills–out of pocket costs.“
James, Air Force Veteran: “Vets Get Together and Start…Bad-Mouthing the VA System.” “I receive the best care because I follow the doctor’s orders and all medical protocol. One of the things I notice while waiting to see the doctor, is the vets get together and start all the negative talk and bad-mouthing the VA system. By the time they get to see the doctor, they are so angry at the VA system they start on the doctor. The doctor shows them the door. This has been my observation.”
Benny, Army Veteran: “I Couldn’t Get Help from Anyone.” “I had eye surgery on my right eye in 2005, for a cataract, and they left a piece of glass/ plastic in my eye for five years. I told them there was something in my eye after the surgery, but they told me it was the lens they had put in my eye. I fought infection in both eyes for five long years, until they did surgery and got the glass/ plastic out. Then my eyes got better. I filed a claim, but they put me off and I couldn’t get any help from anyone.”
Jonathan, Veteran: “There’s Been More Than One Awful Experience.” “I had to file a congressional compliant to get a new VA psychiatrist after the one I was assigned when I moved told me he didn’t think anything was wrong with me. I later found out I’m not the first person he’s had this kind of issue with. Sometimes it’s been really good care but there’s been more than one awful experience.”
Kathleen, Army Veteran: “So Far It’s Been Fruitless.” “I was authorized by the VA and Healthnet for my disc replacement surgery, because the VA doesn’t preform that procedure. It was my second one, and the first one was done while I was waiting for my benefits to be given. I am now being held accountable for bills relating to my surgery because the VA claims that the costs are not related to my service-connected disability. I’m trying to get people involved that can help but so far it’s been fruitless. I shouldn’t have to pay anything, but that’s the VA.”
Tedd, Virginia: “I Have Been Waiting Eight Years.” “I was medically discharged from the Army with a disability rating in 2008. After my discharge, I waited two months for my first appointment at the VA, where I was denied my first disability claim due to a lack of “medical evidence” of my disability. During my second review, I with a doctor who was annoyed and sarcastic from the start. Again my claim was denied. Thankfully, I was able to go before a BVA judge who, after reviewing my information, has opened my case up for review. Unfortunately, I have been waiting eight years and still do not have the proper rating from the VA.”
Each of the stories are being read and compiled, and CVA’s policy team is looking for broad themes. This information will help inform the kind of VA reforms CVA will fight for moving forward.
To read more stories or to learn more about the project, visit www.MyVAStory.org.
Concerned Veterans for America is a non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization that advocates for policies that will preserve the freedom and prosperity we and our families so proudly fought and sacrificed to defend.