Seattle-Area VA Hospital Criticized

Full story: The Associated Press

The Department of Veterans Affairs, rocked by reports of shoddy treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, says it has remedied problems that had been described as an 'immediate threat to life' at three ...
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21 - 36 of 36 Comments Last updated May 11, 2014
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Gary E Sharp

Charlotte, NC

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#23
Feb 16, 2010
 
I have attempted to contact the patient advocate on numerous occasions and they do not respond..IDIOTS... They tell me that there has been no prescription written in months yet my doctor says she has proof that the prescription had been faxed. Now I must endure an harassing 60 dollar bill because they (VA) are liers! I have a baseball bat for such stubborness and I am going to use it, SO HELP ME GOD! I hate the VA and the idiots they have working! I WILL GET EVEN!
Gary E Sharp

Charlotte, NC

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#24
Mar 3, 2010
 
Patty Murray doesn't help or is unable, the patient advocate does not call back no matter how many times you call, the fee services believes that their hard work for the day is to illegitimately deny services, while probably not a vet. Can anyone spell HATE with the same intensity as I? I think we will soon find out. The VETS are required to deal with toilet bowl scum! So help me God, their day will come, and damn soon!
Dino

Issaquah, WA

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#25
Mar 4, 2010
 
Gary E Sharp wrote:
Patty Murray doesn't help or is unable, the patient advocate does not call back no matter how many times you call, the fee services believes that their hard work for the day is to illegitimately deny services, while probably not a vet. Can anyone spell HATE with the same intensity as I? I think we will soon find out. The VETS are required to deal with toilet bowl scum! So help me God, their day will come, and damn soon!
Gary, forget about Patty Murray. Call your representative in Oregon and make a complaint. Murray is a waste of breath if you are not in her voting block and sometimes when you are. While waiting for your representative to contact you, call your VA center in Portland or local area and lodge a complaint. The VA center in your area should be able to do something. If all else fails, call the patient representative at American Lake Veterans Hospital in Tacoma. The two hospitals are part of the same system and the representative at American Lake should be able to give you some guidance. Good luck, brother!
Robin G

Seattle, WA

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#26
Mar 5, 2010
 
Gary Sharp, I am having a completely different experience at my VA Medical Center than you are. I go to the Seattle VA. I called the patient advocate for an issue I had with an employee and got an immediate response. I have a number of prescriptions and have never had trouble getting any of them filled. I have never been denied services. I have always been treated respectfully by all but one of the Seattle VA employees I have encountered. I am grateful for all the care I receive from the Seattle VA.
I have written to Patty Murray online through her website and have gotten responses. She does a lot of good work to help veterans. The first time I wrote to her I received a phone the following day call from one of her employees at her Seattle office.
Your two posts sound like you are threatening violence to employees at the VA. I hope that is not true. If you do commit a violent act at the VA you could also cause harm to your fellow veterans.
I truly hope you get your needs met at your VA center. You should be treated well and with respect, the same way as I am in Seattle.
Jackson

Tacoma, WA

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#27
May 21, 2012
 
I have a problem with people that think because they have dark skin they are somehow exempt from being racist, hiding behind their skin color using it as a shield to hide their racist attitudes while throwing accusations and demanding justice. Seen this behavior everywhere, not limited to the V.A. and the clerk department.
As far as the Seattle V.A. goes I have experienced care that doen't really include care of the persons feelings, just care for the ailment. They seem to be hard hearted towards your feelings and just want you to comply so they can get the job done..
No retribution please

Albuquerque, NM

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#28
Nov 16, 2012
 
Amongst the veterans that I know it is ok to go to a va facility as long as there is nothing wrong with you!

If you don't have a drug or alcohol problem when you go there you just might by the time you are finished with those idiots.

NEVER NEVER COMPLAIN TO A PATIENT'S ADVOCATE AT A VA FACILITY IT IS LIKE COMPLAINING TO THE POLICE ABOUT THE POLICE!

Their moto: We are here to help and serve ourselves to a cushy govt job responsible to no one but ourselves.

I went to the local newspaper to complain about the VA hospital and they told me "don't feel bad they treat us just as bad as they treat you. Lies cover-ups and deceit."

LOL
Michael Glenn

Salt Lake City, UT

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#29
Dec 18, 2012
 
I have been to several Hospitals and by far Seattle is the worst, the employees are not only rude, think only of themselves and quitting time and how fast they can get out the door. I was In Seattle system from 2009-2010 and in that time I was left setting at the PCC for 3-4 hours only to be told they had forgotten me.
This was done at most every visit I had there.I was left setting in the Emergency room for 6...six hours...with heart attack symptoms only to be escorted out after challenging the doc on duty as to why I had sat there WITHOUT being seen.
I do not do drugs and wound up getting treatment refused by a PCC doc because it was put in my records that I had been seen by the drug abuse department which was not true at all...I tried to have the entry removed and was told by the head of the department that he would not strike it and I had to go to the head of the hospital just to have the entry amended .
Just recently I was there and went through travel only to find out that that particular VA Hospital is taking 18 dollars from every patient REGARDLESS of how much the Veteran makes a month...this is plain and simple fraud and is being addressed with not only the patients advocate but the IG as well...do the math on how much money they are scamming people out of...where is this money going???I have spoken with the VA in Salt Lake City, have the regulations that show its fraud so no one needs to jump in here and say I am wrong...We as vets fight hard to get what we can and its not fair that someone hasto try to screw us out of ANYTHING.
Robin G

Bremerton, WA

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#30
Dec 18, 2012
 
Michael Glenn it is my understanding that there is something like a copay for travel pay to and from medical appointments. I go to the Seattle VA Medical Center and they withhold an amount that could be $18, I am not sure, for the first three visits of the month. After the third visit they do not withhold the copay. I don't know the reason for it, I was just told by another vet that they do it the same for everyone.

I have been happy with my care there, I feel I have always been treated well except for one incident with a clerk in one of the clinics. My only complaint at this time is that in Sept. 2011 I asked to have my travel pay mailed to me because I could not wait in line that day. I never received it. I have visited the patient advocate office in person three times after trying to contact them by telephone but never receiving a return phone call after leaving many messages. Each of the three times I visited the office in person they verified that I had not received the money but did not know why. They said the checks are sent from Texas and that I should be getting it any time now. It has been one year and three months now and I still have not received it. I gave up trying. I am never going to ask to have it mailed to me again. I will just stay in line no matter how sick I feel.

I have spent a few hours in the emergency room and I don't think the wait was any worse than it has been in private or county hospitals. You always have to wait a long time in hospital emergency rooms. They take the most serious cases first and if you are not in danger of dropping dead right then, you have to wait, sometimes a few hours.

My only other complaint about the VA is regarding the administrative office in downtown Seattle. I was supposed to receive a large check from them and waited for a few months. I kept calling the national phone number and whoever helped every time I called told me that they did not see the check pending and they would send a letter of inquiry about it for me. One day I was helped by a volunteer in the Everett Vet Center, she placed a call to the office that should have ordered the check to be sent to me and asked them what the delay was. She put me on the phone and the man was very nasty and rude and said "you will get it when you get it". His attitude made me angry and I emailed Senator Patty Murray's office. Someone from Patty's office called me the following day and said he was in the same building as the other office and he would go there himself and talk to them. He called me back later that day and said I could expect my check within the month. I received it in less than a week. Later, after I got the check, I received a letter telling me I would receive the check soon and they had made a mistake but didn't know the reason for the mistake. There was no apology but I did not care, I was so happy to have finally gotten the money.

So, I have had a couple of problems but other than those two incidents I am very grateful for the healthcare I receive and for the money I get as a disabled Vet.
Jeff

Bainbridge Island, WA

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#31
Dec 30, 2012
 
Sorry to hear that your experiences at the V.A. have been disappointing. They have been my medical provider for over 40 years and I have found their care to be superb by American standards. The V.A. is a training facility for new doctors and medical practitioners, and their attending physicians are all department heads and/or practicing doctors at some of the top hospitals in the country. In my opinion, the care you receive at the V.A. is of the same quality, if not better, as any other outpatient clinic or hospital. Yes, you may need to wait a little longer for an appointment or in the waiting room, but I'll take that's the only trade-off.
Tired but reasonable Vet

Redmond, WA

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#32
Jan 15, 2013
 
I have been recieving my medical care at the Seattle VA since 2008. On one hand I am greatful that the service is there, however, the negative issues brought forward are quite valid. There are some staff that are polite and helpful - but if you have a problem or bring forward an issue of mistreatment it goes nowhere.

The patient adovcates appear to protect the system, they do say one thing to your face and a different story behind it. I have heard Vets who don't visit the system much say wonderful things-however, I wonder if they ran into a problem and tried to solve it they would be as happy.

There is generally little if any accountabilty within the system towards Vets. Have you ever read your medical record after a visit- check it out and see if you recall half the stuff that is documented, or if you had a concern, see if it documented correctly - about 50% of the time. That is not acceptable in any medical instituion.

Have a disagreement with a Dr-good luck getting it addressed.

There are some good decent folks that work within the VA system-however, there are a large amount who know that a Vets complaint will go no where, that nothing will happen since most Vets are seen by the system as liars, cheats and just a bunch of unhappy never to be satisfied folks.

I have read the riot act by a patient adovcate for not following the chain command - am I still active nope, does the military allow you step over the chain if the issue deals with the person in your chain, yes- but not the VA.

If you contact Senator Murray's office, they essentialy pass it down to the patient adovcate and then what ever is their response is considered valid even if you can prove with documentation that they misreprented.

What option do you have if you have been wronged. file a lawsuit against the VA-not that simple. The patient advocates will suggest filing a lawsuit-an advocate is to speak for you, to work to get what you need, to negociate processes...but not those at the VA, at least in the puget sound system.

The general theme it appears within the VA health system is similar to what we joked about in basic training...if the government wanted you to have XYZ they would have issued it..the same goes for medical issues..if they wanted you to have any they would have provided them for you.
George thth Great

Olympia, WA

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#33
Jan 16, 2013
 
I'm surprised that Sen. Murray office passed anything down. Despite her liberalness, she is pretty good with vet affairs. I don't like Sen. Murray and never voted for her, even as a Vet, but she and her office has always been there for Vets. Must be some clerical error.
Tired but reasonable Vet

Everson, WA

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#34
Jan 16, 2013
 
George thth Great wrote:
I'm surprised that Sen. Murray office passed anything down. Despite her liberalness, she is pretty good with vet affairs. I don't like Sen. Murray and never voted for her, even as a Vet, but she and her office has always been there for Vets. Must be some clerical error.
George, Unfortunately-the information I got was directly from the Senator's Vet Rep. I do think that Senator Murray and her office staff do assist Vets when it comes to the Claim process issues, however, when it comes to VHA health care issues it is a different issue, I was also told this by the patient adovocate and a PhD who dealt directly with her office. In the health care arena-it appears that the Vet is at a grave disadvantage.
George thth Great

Olympia, WA

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#35
Jan 16, 2013
 
I believe you Tired...I knew she had a vet rep and they were dedicated to helping veterans. I have little experience with both Seattle and American Lake's VA hospitals, we deal mostly with Madigan, so I have little to add except surprise that Murray wasn't there for you. Good luck in getting it settled.
TBeck

Olympia, WA

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#36
May 4, 2014
 
If you all think VA Healthcare is bad now, you need to wake up and remember what it was like in the 60's. I have been going to the Seattle VA for quite a few years and I am 100% disabled by exposure to Agent Orange, in 2010 I almost loss my life during Surgery. But the Surgeon's were magnificent. I have been an inpatient on the 4E floor many times, and they have always treated me with respect and dignity. I think most of the staff even know my first name, and my wife's also. I realize that money is tight today, If there was anything the VA could do better is be able to communicate between departments, They do not talk to each other most of the time. I am very happy with my care in Seattle, and American Lake in Tacoma.
dipplquay

Everett, WA

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#37
May 5, 2014
 
TBeck wrote:
If you all think VA Healthcare is bad now, you need to wake up and remember what it was like in the 60's. I have been going to the Seattle VA for quite a few years and I am 100% disabled by exposure to Agent Orange, in 2010 I almost loss my life during Surgery. But the Surgeon's were magnificent. I have been an inpatient on the 4E floor many times, and they have always treated me with respect and dignity. I think most of the staff even know my first name, and my wife's also. I realize that money is tight today, If there was anything the VA could do better is be able to communicate between departments, They do not talk to each other most of the time. I am very happy with my care in Seattle, and American Lake in Tacoma.
So sorry to hear your Agent Orange issues. I'm on my 30s and born with a form of spina bifida that was caused by my father's exposure to AO in Vietnam. He was approved at 40% disability. So i am currently awaiting MY approval (there is a dependant claim for coverage, which i qualify for) so i can start getting medical coverage, plus, my SSI should be coming thru soon Also. I. Am now 100% disabled From this. Im very excited to get VA medical coverage and have only seen n heard positive things from my dad.
:-)

“Grow the power within yourself”

Since: Feb 11

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#38
May 11, 2014
 

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It's time to finish the VA and close it down. The larger the beast the more dysfunctional. The fact that some people are satisfied there doesn't matter. There clearly is a huge dysfunctional problem and I cannot but fail,to attribute government services to this.

Give all our vets the same healthcare as hedge-fund managers have (or better). Secondly, veterans with combat injuries deserves free choice of care at the best university hospitals. Throw the empty suits and moochers out in the streets as long as one of our combat-injured vets does not have it all.

Finally, criminal charges and HARD TIME should happen to whoever manipulated thar wait list, causing vets to die!!! As always, it is easy to fix the government, just cut it down to a tenth of what it is today and whoever does not WORK when employed there should get fired with horrid references tagged along..

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