Doctor visit means hundreds of miles for some vets

There are 69 comments on the Air Force Times story from Jul 6, 2014, titled Doctor visit means hundreds of miles for some vets. In it, Air Force Times reports that:

Vietnam veteran and Veterans Affairs Department volunteer Durward Forbes of Alamogordo, N.M., discusses the challenges of transporting veterans hundreds of miles from Otero County to medical appointments in Albuquerque.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Air Force Times.

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Viet Nam Vet

Chillicothe, OH

#1 Jul 7, 2014
I must say that the dedicated volunteers who drive our veterans to and from our appointments are truely angels BUT their services should not be necessary. Every veteran should recieve a veterans health care card that can be used ANYPLACE they choose WHENEVER they choose to use it. Those that live extended distances from VA healthcare should be able to go to their closest healthcare provider and the VA would pay for it. Others would have the right to choose where they obtain their healthcare. They could go to the VA or seek healthcare in the private sector. NOBODY should be left without the opportunity to seek their healthcare where ever they choose.
Not Just You

Alamogordo, NM

#2 Jul 8, 2014
A lot of people in this town go elsewhere for medical treatment! This is what happens when people get overly greedy and selfish like the feds.
Not Just You

Alamogordo, NM

#3 Jul 8, 2014
When doctors get greedy! Sorry about that!!
Tony Betterton

United States

#4 Jul 8, 2014
My wife and I use the VA clinic in Las Cruces for our primary care and the El Paso facility for additional services. If you choose to use the local contracted clinic in Alamogordo I believe you can get a waiver to be referred to El Paso facility.
yeppp

Rio Rancho, NM

#5 Jul 8, 2014
Have a great VA clinic in Farmington with great Drs. But, if I have an emergency and whatever the emergency is cannot be considered a part of a service connected injury or condition, then I have to make a choice. Drive the 4 hours to the VA emergency room or pay 100% of the ER bill and go to the local ER. Vets of advanced age typically have heart or circulatory problems that are not caused by a specific illness or injury while in the service so the VA healthcare ONLY takes care of it at a VA facility. Having to make the distinction of chest pain and can I make the 4 hr drive should never have to be a consideration. If a veteran relies 100% on VA healthcare and VA emergency facilities are more than an hour away, the VA needs to allow the Vet or his family to call 911 and get local help without getting a bill that will bankrupt them.
Larry

Alamogordo, NM

#6 Jul 8, 2014
Yeah well trust me as once the republigoons get back into power they'll slash the VA budget (close down VA health clinics) so that they can have their '''precious''' tax cuts for the wealthy and then see where that'll leave Vets especially the ones who voted for those goons !!
Spidee

High Rolls Mountain Park, NM

#7 Jul 8, 2014
Larry, you are correct. it is all about money for those people. besides they are a bunch of draft dodgers if old enough, or just plain non vet chicken hawks.
really

Rio Rancho, NM

#8 Jul 8, 2014
Larry wrote:
Yeah well trust me as once the republigoons get back into power they'll slash the VA budget (close down VA health clinics) so that they can have their '''precious''' tax cuts for the wealthy and then see where that'll leave Vets especially the ones who voted for those goons !!
.
I've been a vet for 8 4yr administrations and haven't seen many changes ... the clinic in my area was built during a Rep administration, so your goon assertion may have a flaw.
Ralph

Meridian, ID

#9 Jul 8, 2014
Can only hope republicans can get back in power., Obama has had it for 6 years and it has only gotten worse. Veterans deserve better then this.
whatever

Cloudcroft, NM

#10 Jul 8, 2014
I don't believe that is a Democrap or Republicon problem. I think the real problem is that so many citizens are so removed from military and military service and they simply don't care or are consciously ignorant of the problem. Look at Congress, how many members have actually served? Very few! They all say the right thing and want to support the vets, but when it comes to the budget and more importantly administrative accountability in the VA, nothing changes. I say a pox on all their houses! God bless the VETS!

“I ain't afraid of no ghosts.”

Since: Aug 08

Dear old mucky Drasnia

#11 Jul 8, 2014
Not to absolve the VA from the pathetic job it has been doing for our vets, but there is something to be said for opting to live closer to medical services if you know you are likely to need them.

Look, I'm a 34 year old high school special education teacher, and I have chosen to live near (ten minutes) a hospital because I'm a two-time cancer survivor. It's taking some responsibility for myself.
Tony Betterton

United States

#12 Jul 8, 2014
Maybe we should have a million vet march on D.C. Or around the homes of congress members who are preventing The VA from providing services to us in an appropriate manner, however, my wife and I are very happy with the care we get in Las Cruces, What I don't understand though, is why we should have to drive from Alamogordo 75 miles to get 5minutes worth of blood work.
Tony Betterton

United States

#13 Jul 8, 2014
and to "Silk": Most vets I know couldn't handle living 10 minutes from a VA hospital, because that would put us in the middle of a large city environment. Have you ever heard of PTSD?
Tony Betterton

United States

#14 Jul 8, 2014
By not living in that environment I AM taking responsibility for myself.

“US Navy”

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#15 Jul 8, 2014
I agree with Silk here. There are advantages and disadvantages, "choices" to be made when one decides to live in an urban or rural environment. You as the person, in this case vet, have to make the one that fits your needs and your families needs best. YOU are the primary person responsible for your health, nobody else. The VA is providing you the care (notwithstanding the recent events) they owe you, however they do NOT owe you 2 minute access to that care and a VAH every 10 miles across the US grid. Where you choose to live is the choice YOU have to make, so make the right one, the smart one, the one that best suits your personal situation - like he has for instance. I'm not saying things couldn't be streamlined better with respect to possible care access via other Dr's/Hosp's, but your posts have a bad tone to them in that respect, like you feel the VA has to compensate you for your lack of smarter choice(s).

And before you jump down my throat:
- yes, I am a vet (1968-1974);
- yes, I live about 10 minutes away from a VAH;
- no, I do not use its services, I pay for private insurance;
- no, I do not have PTSD nor do I know anyone who does;
- using PTSD is an excuse & NOT a viable reason for choosing where you live so don't pimp those who do to try and bolster your argument. If you truly need their services as you allude to, and choose to live 75 miles or more from a VAH, then you are NOT taking responsibility for yourself so quit complaining! You knew the rules of the game long ago.

Having said that, thank you for your service sir.
Tony Betterton

United States

#16 Jul 8, 2014
Up yours!
Tony Betterton

United States

#17 Jul 8, 2014
As a matter of fact, their is a contracted clinic where I live and their level of care is dismal. You don!'t know what you are talking about.

“I ain't afraid of no ghosts.”

Since: Aug 08

Dear old mucky Drasnia

#18 Jul 8, 2014
Tony Betterton wrote:
and to "Silk": Most vets I know couldn't handle living 10 minutes from a VA hospital, because that would put us in the middle of a large city environment. Have you ever heard of PTSD?
As a matter of fact, I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology, minoring in Sociology, with a heavy emphasis on post traumatic stress disorder. And the onus for treatment is still on the individual You can either choose to treat it, or withdraw and refuse to treat it. But bear in mind that the VA cannot force doctors to live in the middle of nowhere, so if you want to treat it, chances are pretty good that you'll need to be willing to go where the doctors are.
lolol

Rio Rancho, NM

#19 Jul 9, 2014
Now it's the vets fault he or she doesn't live 10 minutes from a VA emergency room in case an emergency happens. a little detachment from reality there, but obama would love it if all people lived in his urban hellholes, didn't own cars and knuckled down and be willing player/victims of urban knockout games. No thanks, all said the premise that the feds could cover ER expenses for vets in the VA healthcare system, but they won't. They do need 4 billion for a bunch of illegals with 2 billion just for HHS, not VAH. figures ! I don't want to live 10 minutes from a facility that will let you die on their own grounds instead of getting emergency help to you in a timely manner, you know, screw the vets, we have illegals to care for.
Viet Nam Vet

Chillicothe, OH

#20 Jul 9, 2014
whatever wrote:
I don't believe that is a Democrap or Republicon problem. I think the real problem is that so many citizens are so removed from military and military service and they simply don't care or are consciously ignorant of the problem. Look at Congress, how many members have actually served? Very few! They all say the right thing and want to support the vets, but when it comes to the budget and more importantly administrative accountability in the VA, nothing changes. I say a pox on all their houses! God bless the VETS!
You hit the nail on the head. The problem at today's VA is indeed "administrative accountability". In the last year of the Carter Administration, a Democrat controlled congress created the SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICE. This group of government EGOMANIACS are just below the political appointees and directly above the working Supervisors who try and get the jobs done. Look at EVERY story about problems at any VA Medical Center and you will see something about the top Management of that location. These are the SES employees. Under the current law, they are almost untouchable. At Pheonix where it has been proven that Veterans dies while the Director recieved huge performance bonuses, that Director is still being paid TO STAY HOME while the VA debates what they can really do to her. In the past, the normal response to these type of situations was to hide the problem by transfering or even promoting the problem employee elsewhere in the VA. If the new Secretary has a chance of resolving the VAs problems, the SES MUST be eliminated.

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