An Open Letter to Dr. Ben Carson from America’s Leading Veterans Organizations

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Dear Dr. Carson:

As leaders of the nation’s largest veterans organizations, with more than 5 million active members, we vehemently disagree with your dangerous proposal to eliminate the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system for America’s veterans.  Eliminating the VA health care system – considering all that it has done in the past and all that it could be in the future – would inevitably endanger the health and well-being of millions of wounded, injured and ill veterans, an outcome that we cannot allow to occur.

Dr. Carson, we do not question your intentions to improve the lives of those who have served; your life’s work speaks clearly to your dedication to the lives of others.  Nor do we dispute your observation that VA today faces very serious problems and challenges in providing health care and benefits.  Each of our organizations has criticized VA whenever it has faltered or failed, as has too often been the case in recent years.  But because our primary concern is about ensuring the best possible outcomes for the men and women who served, we have also proposed thoughtful and responsible reforms that if enacted, and properly resourced, could make VA great again.

While we certainly respect your medical credentials, we are concerned that your current knowledge of the VA is both outdated and inaccurate.  We recognize that you received a significant part of your medical training in the VA (as has the majority of America’s doctors); however, the VA you worked in over three decades ago is dramatically different than the VA of today or even ten years ago.  The post-Vietnam VA health care system that you observed firsthand during your medical education and subsequent residency operated a system of large hospitals typically located only in major cities.  That VA no longer exists.  Today the VA system is an integrated, tiered network of more than 1,400 outpatient clinics, medical centers, hospitals, and clinical research facilities, affiliated with hundreds of medical schools and universities.

In reading your recent op-ed in USA Today, it appears to us that you have not been provided with complete and accurate information on how the VA health care system has evolved.  Your claim that VA health care has not modernized to meet the changing needs of veterans is simply not borne out by the facts.  For example, in just the past dozen years, VA has developed a national integrated system of polytrauma centers and research efforts to address the devastating traumatic injuries from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, particularly traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Long the world leader in diagnosing and treating PTSD, VA also has now become the first and perhaps only large scale health care system to fully integrate mental health into its primary care system nationally.  Over the past five years VA has also updated its model of care to integrate and support over 20,000 family caregivers of severely injured veterans, not only to allow them to receive care in their homes and reduce government spending, but also to increase the emotional support so critical for their recovery and healing.

VA’s clinical research programs have helped to improve medical diagnosis, treatment and health outcomes for the entire U.S. population.  It was VA scientists who developed the original nicotine patch and proved the benefits of low dose aspirin therapy to prevent heart attacks.  Closer to your own field of medicine, VA researchers demonstrated that therapy with electrodes implanted into the brain was better than medication at controlling tremors and movement problems in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Carson, do you really think that veterans would be better off today had VA not existed, or that they would be better cared for in the future in a world without a national VA system dedicated to their unique and often complex needs?

Furthermore, your suggestion that giving veterans health savings accounts in lieu of access to a VA health care system would effectively diminish our nation’s sacred obligation to “care for him who shall have borne the battle…”  It would put the onus on the veteran for finding their own health care providers, navigating through the private market-based system, determining whether it meets the standard of care they require, and dealing with the consequences if it goes awry.  To suggest that disabled veterans could be sent out into the private economy with a health savings account card overlooks the fact that civilian health care providers have waiting lists of their own, that private practices often limit the number of government plan patients they accept due to low reimbursement rates, and presupposes that civilian doctors have the necessary skillsets and training to meet the unique health needs of military veterans.

Dr. Carson, as one of our nation’s preeminent medical practitioners, you are well positioned to work with us to promote needed reforms at the VA, reforms that will ensure this country keeps its promises to America’s veterans. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and open a dialogue about the benefits of a national health care system focused exclusively on veterans. America’s veterans have earned the right to a VA system that provides veteran-centric, high quality, accessible health care.  We invite you to join with us in an effort to strengthen and reform the VA, not destroy it.

Respectfully,

 

Garry Augustine, Executive Director, Washington Headquarters, DAV

Robert E. Wallace, Executive Director, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States

Verna L. Jones, Executive Director, The American Legion

Homer S. Townsend, Jr., Executive Director, Paralyzed Veterans of America

Stewart M. Hickey, National Executive Director, AMVETS

Robert Puskar, National Commander, Military Order of the Purple Heart

Paul J. Rieckhoff, Executive Director, IAVA

VADM Norbert R. Ryan, Jr., USN (Ret), President, Military Officers Association of America

  • Shirley Watts

    Some republican running for office always wants to do away with some office or another, even if, like Gov Perry, they can’t remember the name of the office

  • Betsey

    Before you jump me, I’m the wife of a retired, severely disabled Special Forces Officer so trust that I know what I’m talking about here. I have been assisting my husband since he is unable to speak on the phone continually or constantly go into VA Hospitals and clinics, so I do the leg work. Quite simply, the entire VA structure needs to be imploded and restructured. I haven’t seen any changes since Shinseki was ousted. It’s just as bad, if not worse at the VA clinics. During our last appeal since it was to be on an expedited basis, they sent us to a contract doctor near our house for his Compensation and Pension exam. Where they dug this guy up, I will never know. Well, I do know, it’s because he was probably cheap and took whatever the VA was offering in the way of compensation. His office is behind a gas station in a strip mall. My husband’s issues are orthopedic in nature and complex. He has other issues but they are not service connected. I would think that they would find a doctor for these exams who is an orthopedic specialist. This particular guy was just a little family practice doctor and had to ask ME about certain things. Naturally, he didn’t really understand the complexity of the nature of my husband’s injuries. In any case, our appeal was basically denied. This is what I’m talking about. These people need to be sent to doctors and specialists within their communities and the doctors should be reimbursed by the government. If they need to go to a hospital, they should go to their nearest hospital and bill the government, etc. The VA as it is, is irretrievably broken and cannot be fixed. It needs to be completely dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.

    • Army vet mom

      I agree with you 100%. These people could not compete in the real world. My son’s injury is complex as well and he is also EXPDEDITED which is a joke. The process started when his daughter was in first grade and she just started sixth grade. He has not even got a rating to be appealed yet. I finally had his disability compensation exam a month ago. We are still waiting. The entire medical part needs to go away. My son called and left messages multiple times to try to get help from the DAV on his claim. He finally got someone from the DAV only by seeing one at VA town hall meeting and following him until he could get him to help.

    • Ryan J Rink

      Ms Betsy,
      Are you replying to me about this? I hope not because we are definitely on the same page. I’m 100% also, and I’m sick and tired of every time I turn around another Brother or Sister is being Shafted by the VA or Our (hmm excuse me something caught in my Throat) GUMENT cutting OUR BENEFITS or SERVICES. These ASSHAT’S need to understand WE DID WHAT WE WERE TOLD TO DO IN THE WORST CONDITIONS POSSIBLE WHILE BEING LAB RATS TO GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT KIND OF DRUGS. NOW IT THERE TURN TO MAN UP AND DO THE RIGHT THING, HOLD UP THEIR END OF THE CONTRACT, TAKE CARE OF US OR FIX US. NO MORE BULLSHIT ABOUT FUNDING, IF THE USA CAN SEND BILLIONS TO THE MIDDLE EAST IN AIDE, SEND SOME OF THOSE BILLIONS TO THE VETERANS THAT SERVED THIS COUNTRY.

    • Sean

      You are absolutely correct on the surgeries performed by residence (aka students) @ Dallas VA.
      Had I known thus prior to surgery, it would’ve never happened. They botched my sinuses up so bad It’s not funny.
      I would have no problem whatsoever if they scrapped the whole corrupt VA health care system. Broken is an understatement.

  • Steve

    I think the root of the problem with the VA and any other gov’t agencies is bureaucracy. So much entrenched middle and upper management that serves the status quo in order to keep their heads burrowed as far up the government’s ass as they can. Self preservation vs. good work. Guess which one wins in gov’t?

  • Eric Smolder

    Why, so the DAV can keep the shabby, unethical way they treat our veterans? Time to clean house at DAV= wasteful use of taxpayer funding and just likes to make the vets wait until they die off. Run these bloodsucking bureaucrats into the sea!

  • Russell. Silber

    The VA has never been the same since Ronald Reagan go back and look at your study peace through strength and money from the vets

  • Richard callahan

    I agree that eliminating the VA is the wrong approach to fix the problem. But, as a veteran with my own medical background it is clear that the present state of Healthcare is poor at best.

    The main problem is the atmosphere the people of the VA work in. They know the only do enough to get by to keep their jobs
    No where else is this attitude standard help this problem.

    Oversight and strick standards of care woul

    • Mick Emilo

      I feel at times they are their pay checks only and there are not enough Dr for the men coming back from the last three wars. I can mouth off it doesnt make any difference

  • Maggie Clark Pezzullo

    Im sorry but the VA needs to go, and I say this knowing that my truely caring VA nurses would loose their jobs. There is no way the VA will be fixed until we get politics and money out of it. That will never happen.

  • Army vet mom

    My son went to the VA today to see a new primary care Dr. It was more like a data entry session. The Dr. did not look at him, examine him, but sat at a desk reading questions from a computer screen and typing in the responses. No treatment for his spine especially damaged S1 or knees that need surgery or addressing his swollen jaw from an infection from his tooth draining into his mouth and ear. Just asking if he wanted a flu shot, pneumonia shot, tenus or mental health questions. They did not have information from MRI’s or CAT scans regarding his injuries. Just wanted to give him psych meds but nothing to treat his infection that they did not seem to notice since they were busy looking at the computer screen and nothing for his damaged spine or knees or mobility issues. No arthritis meds nothing. Just mental health survey questions. Is that what happens when you see a REAL Dr. in the REAL world outside the VA. If my Dr. treated me like a McD’s drive-thru I would not be back. The VA needs to send him to a neurologist but all he gets is the same tests and same lost records, new PC Dr. and the process starts again. They must get kickback for prescribing certain meds because they push those over and over. Maybe they get a bonus for each flu shot, tetnus and pneumonia shot and if they get all three on one person they get an extra incentive. Shouldn’t a new Dr. check your BP, your pulse, check your ears and throat etc. Mine does.

    • firedrake

      See what I said to Craig above. You DO have to insist. You need to go in there with a list of what you want to discuss, conditions YOU feel need addressing, and refuse to leave until they’re taken care of. Don’t let them bully you!

  • douglas s

    I am a vet. fire them all and hire a staff that will do the job they are paid to do. All of my retired vets are being treated like crap and most are paying out of their pocket from the private sector because the VA is not doing their job. One fellow vet almost died because of them over medicating him. clean state and start off with people who will do their job. Tired of see MY friends die.

  • Craig Weuste

    I just went to my VA for a elbow problem and the doctor didn’t even check my elbow or have any checks of any kind just gave me meds any a bunch of theries how can you tell what is wrong without any exams or test

    • firedrake

      And yet, I was with my PCP for 2 hours yesterday, going over every detail of my current conditions, meds I’m taking, how they interract, how my physical therapy is going, etc., etc., etc. You DO have to speak up and tell them “NO, this is not acceptable!” I still have an Inspector General Inquiry going on into the actions of my previous PCP. Yeah, there are bad apples, but YOU have the right to say “Screw you, get me a real doctor!”

  • Jim Butler

    100% disabled. Service connected. Tri-care for Life and Medicare. No premium. Never had a problem . Beats VA 24/7. Best game in town. Been on Tri-care and Medicare since age 47.

  • Ryan J Rink

    To hell with all the stats! SIMPLY PUT THESE (WE) ARE THE MEN THAT YOU SENT TO FIGHT! NOW do the Manly thing hold up YOUR END of the DEAL. TAKE CARE OF US.
    Cut your raise, cut funding at your level and stop putting the BURDEN of YOUR CARELESSNESS on the backs of THE DEFENDERS of THIS NATION the ARMED SERVICES. FOR ONCE DO THE RIGHT THING.

    • Michael J. Ryan

      I’d like to hear the good Dr.’s response to this !!!

  • cymbree

    As a Woman Veteran my issues stem largely from the hour and a half drive to the nearest hospital. The local clinic can address general or immediate concerns non-emergent in nature, but not woman’s issues. My doctors have been very attentive and take the time and care to address all my concerns but, their hands are tied. I’ve requested referrals to chiropractic care, physical therapy, etc. for years before finally getting them and then only with the understanding that VA would not be paying. The largest issue of all is the private sector taking advantage and ripping off the VA for the services they do pay for. I know that I’m grateful for the services they do provide and I love the time I get to sit and visit with the Vets much older than me while I wait for Labs or Meds. They have some Great War stories and appreciate an attentive ear.

  • David Morales

    Fix the damned VA already! I am so tired of all the talking! There needs to be mass firings at the VA. I found out I have a tumor in my head 4 1/2 months ago, still no doctor’s appointment to see what’s going to happen next. The VA is a mess! I am now wondering if I will join the thousand of other Veterans who have died waiting for appointments. Something needs to be done NOW! If ending the VA will fix it, so be it!

    • Joe

      You have a tumor in your head, but you don’t have a follow-up appointment? I’d call today. They will give you an appointment if you call today. It may be a few weeks, but they’ll give you an appointment. Now the law says if they cannot get you in within 30 days (or sooner if you need it), they have to give you the choice of going to a private doctor.

      • David Morales

        I have been approved to use the VA Veteran’s Choice program. The problem is that I can’t find a neurosurgeon who will accept TriWest insurance, that the Choice program uses. The doctor’s I have contacted have said that the VA takes too long to pay their bills and that they won’t be accepting any more patients that use TriWest insurance until next year or until the VA starts paying their bills. The VA is screwed up because of administration bureaucracies all the way through!

  • retvet09

    I’m a disabled Vet and am also a member of the DAV. Personally it saddens me that the DAV would show support for such a broken administration. Almost as bad as the current presidential administration. We as veterans would be better off going to a family Dr just like anyone else.

  • Bobby D. Veteran

    I am a 90% disabled veteran. I have been fighting for 8 years for medical retirement. I am very close, with the DAV’s assistance, my constant presence at my VA Regional Office, and recently I’ve gotten my Congressman involved. If it wasn’t for my personal preference to stay with the VA until my claim is finalized, and the fact that I love my PCP, I would take FULL advantage of the Choice program. The VA needs to go. They are micromanaged into failure. They are putting all of the blame of their failure on the doctors that love and actually care for the veterans. My doctor can’t even give me an opioid I am requesting, because the @$$hats upstairs don’t want to be blamed for creating addicts. I have never been addicted to a thing in my life, nor do I understand addictions. I’ve proven that the Tramadol that they replaced my Percocet with is useless, and makes me feel like I’ve been drinking all day. Doctor Carson is right on. Stop wasting money with the VA, and allow our healthcare to be outsourced to doctors we can choose. The Hampton VA has to even send people out in town for a simple MRI because their equipment is so outdated. They can’t keep a good doctor on staff because they micromanage so badly. Half of the people you have appointments with aren’t even doctors….they’re practitioners or assistants!! They send you out in town for everything. I needed to seek out a hand surgeon, physical therapist, neurosurgeon, and imaging center because my VAMC didn’t have anyone on staff, or the correct equipment. In Hampton Virginia!! The largest military area in the world!!! In this case, I have to say, the DAV does NOT speak for me. We are wasting money on the VA medical centers, when there is better and more advanced health care on the outside. Just listen to his ideas….listen to what he says. He’s brilliant…..and he’s a normal human being, not a fine tuned politician! Ben Carson 2016.

    • Bobby D. Veteran

      I also say GET RID OF QTC! They have been the BIGGEST failed link in my claim process. They are doctors hired by Lockheed Martin, just so they can sop up more government money. My PCP recently took over 13 hours of his personal time to help me fill out DBQ’s to override and do away with QTC on my claim. QTC has taken a total of 45 minutes, over 3 different appointments in 8 years, to do a full medical evaluation on me. And the VA takes their word as the Gospel. Had it not been for my DAV VSO, I wouldn’t have known DBQ’s even exist. I have wasted so much time, and the VA’s money and resources thanks to QTC.

  • Danny

    Sounds like some people are getting nervous. And that’s a good thing. 75% of the VA staff and administrators should be fired! “Yesterday couldn’t be too soon” this is nothing more than folks trying to save their asses. Well “too late”

  • Connie D

    Right on.

  • tommy vise

    Tell it like it is, Dr Carson! The VA needs to be scrapped! Just read the comments of our vets!!

  • Orville Burshia

    Been Carson is supposedly an outsider candidate and not one of the same old same old airbags. If this be so, I hope he actually shows he is not all political rhetoric but meets with the VA and helps them with their needs. I never served but I remember my little brother break down when he received his draft notice. I also seen him break down after he came home from serving two tours in Vietnam. He was hurting from being forced to go to war and by the treatment of the people of this nation for going to war. My little brother has died but we know what he risked and are proud of him.

  • Harold Morphew

    I am 100% and permanently disabled and I use the VA 100% for my medical care. I have never had a problem with the VA. It would seem best to fix what problem you have with them.

    • Joe Lempa

      I agree. I am proud of the care my VA Hospital gives our Veterans. You need to speak up for yourself or you can easily be dismissed.
      Without a VA system we would be at the mercy of scheming profiteers. It’s up to you to remedy the problems in your area.

    • Regina1062

      I’m with you on this I have never had half the problems I hear from others and their experiences I am so glad the VA is there and the Drs I have do care about me and like you I am 100% service connected

  • Lee Barber

    The VA has done very little to help me with my PTSD, anxiety disorders and Major Depressive Disorder. The medications they put me on (most of the SRI’s, SSRI’s, SNRI’s at one time or another that are on the market) usually make me worse, not better or do nothing to help me. Once every month and a half psychotherapy is not enough.

    Being abandoned to the private health care system with their insurance overlords scares the hell out of me though. I know from experience how hard it can be to get approval for a commonly accepted medical treatment, let alone one that borders on, or is experimental (less than 10 yrs old and accepted world wide).

    They need to actually FIX the VA. I know I’m asking for nothing short of a God given miracle in today’s broken political system. They need to fire or jail a lot of senior VA executives and staff, and also a large number of run of the mill clinicians, nurses and staff. When I’m in and out of an office in under 10 min for a complex medical issue where they don’t even ask a relevant question is unacceptable.

    One last thing. Many of the policies need to be reviewed and updated. I need an electric wheelchair. In the civilian market I already have a doctor who said he will approve of the chair (wife’s doctor). I’m trying to use the VA for it’s stated purpose, but policy prohibits the issuing of an electric wheelchair unless your heart is almost dead, you have zero use of your legs or unable to walk in any way. Then they put u in a regular wheelchair if your arms work. I have a chronic pain condition that often prohibits walking or use of my arms for long but because they “work” I can’t get any type of wheelchair. So…. I’m in danger of becoming an addict to pain medications instead. Thanx America and the VA.

  • Frank A. Mirabella

    Here we go again. The Veteran’s Service Organizations (VSO’s) just jump to the defense of the VA. Clearly, this letter was drafted for their signatures by the VA. At some point, the VSO’s will have to realize that the interests of the veterans that they are supposed to be serving is not identical to the interests of the VA bureaucrats. The VSO’s should be focusing on insuring that every qualified veteran receives quality healthcare in the communities where they reside in a timely manner, instead of worrying about protecting the bureaucracy at the VA.

    • Joe

      False. The letter was created by the VSOs not the VA. The letter clearly says the VA is in bad shape and needs serious reform. It is not defending or protecting the VA. It is an attempt to inform those seeking to become this nation’s next commander in chief.

      • Frank A. Mirabella

        Joe.. please tell me, why wasn’t a letter sent to Jeb Bush too. After all, isn’t it his position to privatize the VA?

        • Joe

          Mr. Bush has the VSOs’ attention with his positions, but at this time he has not called for the elimination of VA health care. Bush’s VA reform plan calls for expanding “choice” options for care outside the department without cutting funding for VA hospitals and medical staff.

          • Frank A. Mirabella

            You obviously have no experience with what Jeb Bush means when he talks about ‘privatization’. When he was Governor of Florida he ‘privatized’ everything that he could. I can assure you, that his privatization plans go far beyond the ‘Choice’ program.

  • Darrell

    Misrepresents Carson’s plan. He wants to give vets ability to use private docs and hospitals, paid by VA benefits. Private system is MUCH better than VA system because you can get timely care. Carson suggested moving VA hospitals under Department of Defense to make transition from active duty to veteran more seamless. He states VA should continue to handle all the combat-specific medical problems because they are specialists for those issues. However for the common chronic disease management such as hypertension, diabetes, etc – they can be more efficiently treated by private healthcare systems. As a veteran AND as a physician who has worked in both VA hospitals and private hospitals, I agree with Dr Carson and support this approach.

    • Joe

      You clearly have not read what Ben Carson’s campaign recent put out on this. He is being led in the wrong direction by people who care about profits not veterans. These organizations exist solely to protect veterans, and they are reaching out to help Ben Carson get on the right track before he goes too far down the wrong road on this crucial issue.

    • De. 100% Disabled veteran

      The problem with that is that private practices put Veterans at the back of the line! Like the letter clearly outlines, they only receive a fraction of what they charge through the government (VA) system. So with that being said it takes forever to find a primary Care Dr who is willing to take the government insurance and it can take up to 3x as long to get an appointment! And no offense but I don’t want to find all the specialist I would need to find to deal with all of MY special needs! I have enough trouble keeping up with my appointments that are all in the same place! Not to mention the few outside Drs I have seen don’t really seem all that worried about me they are all more worried about the patients that are paying the full price of their services! Just my opinion, not a show stopper!

  • Dan

    Tell me Dr. Carson, are you a veteran in need? I am and have always I got the care I needed. Most times better care than any civilian hospital has to offer. Dont let my brothers and sisters down with your one sided thought. Unless you been there you will never know.

  • Jimmy Craft

    100% disabled and have never had a problem with the VA. They’ve always been attentive and caring.

  • Leo James Hentrich

    DAV LEADERS: Can you hear us veterans? Why does it take a congressman to get a claim approved. Why are there dead people still on the rolls. Maybe it’s time to implode the DAV also. On Aug 22, 2015 I was life flighted to OSU Medical Center after I was nearly killed in an ATV accident. After it was determined that surgery would not be beneficial at that time I was discharged and told to go to the Chalmers Wylie VA Hospital to be evaluated for Physical therapy and follow up since I am retired veteran. I presented at the Urgent Care at Chalmers Wylie at 3:55PM on Thursday 27 Aug, 2015 and was told by Mike that the office that needed to fax a request to OSU for my records was closed and to come back tomorrow. I explained my situation and situation and was told he was getting off work in 5 mins and to come back in the morning. I went ballistic and an RN named Nichole Lucas who overheard the conversation told me I would be better off to present myself at the VA Hospital nearer my home and be evaluated, I returned to my home that night and suffered horribly because I could not breath without pain and the VA Pharmacy at Chalmers Wylie would not fill my scripts without a signature from a doctor in urgent care. The next morning I presented at Chillicothe VA Hospital and was admitted and treated for pnumonia from a collapsed lung, six broken ribs, a broken clavicle, a broken scapula, yes scapula and impacted bowels. After a week I was sent to Lanfair Nursing Center in Lancaster Ohio. Because of my injuries I was not able to fully participate in physical rehab and was going to be sent home until I was notified that my home had been partially destroyed.by water damage from a pipe that had burst while I was hospitalized. I had to call Senator Sherrod Brown’s office to get a hospital bed at the Chillicothe VA Hospital after Medicare stopped paying for the Nursing home rehab center that the VA sent me too after 7 days. I was told there was no longer a medical need to house me and there were no other options and to call some of the Veterans Service Orgs to see if they could help. I am a single father of 4 children that have been put in foster care while I am being treated. I am sitting here in the Hoptel waiting for an insurance adjustor to help me with additional living expenses. I have been given until Friday (two days) to vacate the Hoptel regardless of the insurance outcome. Does that sound like taking care of our vets to you. Before i called Senator Brown’s office, I called your office last Friday at 2:37 PM and was told by the receptionist that everybody goes home at 2PM on Fridays and to call back on Moday. I told her my condition and that I was being discharged to the street and was told that I was welcome to call back on Monday if I still had a problem. And you think that this VA is taking care of those who took care of our country? I am ashamed to be a lifetime member of the DAV and AMVETS. If you know anyone who can help me PLEASE have them contact me immediately: any time of night or day, I am running out of time.

    My name is Leo Hentrich, Sergeant (USAF Retired)
    Lljames3@yahoo.com
    Hoptel Bldg 29 Room 110
    Chillicothe VA Hospital
    800-358-8262 ext 7205
    740-583-4140 cell

  • Jenny Willsey

    Our VA system is broken! My son waited many months to even get seen! How is this helping our veterans????

  • Ryan J Rink

    Typical, no reply, but then again a POLITICIAN CAN NEVER BE TRUSTED AND IS NEVER GOOD ON HIS WORD.
    IT’S ALL ABOUT HIS PAYCHECK, REMEMBER THEY EXEMPTED THEMSELVES FROM THE AHCA. POS’s. Every last lying one of them, party lines has nothing to do with it. And to think you kiss your mom with them lips, hell what a way to HONOR YOUR PARENTS!

  • Randall

    While I support Dr. Carson, I disagree with putting the veterans back under the DOD. The primary reason is that the DOD’s mission in general is to fight and win wars. To that end, their budget will always have that as a priority. If you were to get rid of the VA and give that budget back to the DOD, more than likely, that money will not go to Veterans issues and will be reallocated to training and readiness.

  • RetGrunt

    I stopped going to the VA when the nurse practitioner stated that she didn’t think I was in the pain. And, the pain that I thought I felt wasn’t to the degree that i stated. Luckily I am retired Army, and have tricare. No problems with Tricare. VA does need to be changed drastically or even absorbed by Tricare. It was the worst care I ever received. That was in Atwater, CA.

  • John Robert Voss

    My experience with the VA has showed me that the VA has absolutely the best doctors and resources money can buy. Then it goes to hell after that. I have been havingproblems for almost two years and I have seen this first hand. My doctors wanted me to go to the Mayo Clinic and Administration shot that request down. Not only once was that request denied but twice so regrettably I feel there is a price the VA is not willing to pay to take care of a veteran. Now after two years of testing I’m still having the same problems and no diagnosis. Is there problems at the VA, the answer would be YES. But to do away with the VA is as crazy as crazy can get. Anyone who has been a patient of the VA for longer than ten years would have to honestly say they have seen improvements. So instead of wasting time and money talking about doing away with the VA use that money and energy fixing the flaws still in the VAsystem.

  • Michael Hennessey

    I am a 100% disabled Vet in the Seattle area. I have been using the VA since 1971. In all that time I have had one problem which was as much my fault as the doctors. I am amazed at all of the caring and patience that the people at the VA have for us veterans. I am also amazed at the disrespect I hear in waiting rooms from a minority of veterans. If they acted that way at a civilian doctor they would be asked to find a new doctor. My wife has major medical problems and we go to 2 of the top rated hospitals in our area. While their service is great it can not hold a candle to the service I get at the VA.

  • scott townsendnude

    NO ONE HELPING OUT THIS VETERAN OUT HERE IN ROSAMOND CAL MY NAME IS SCOTT TOWNSEND WENT I WAS IN THE ARMY BUT MY ITS SCOTT TOWNSENDNUDE WHO HELP ME OUT HERE NO ONE ITS HELPING OUT AT ALL I DONOT HAVE NO CAR NO MONEY TO MOVE 2 LA ANGNLES CAL I DONOT HAVE FOOD

  • Leo James Hentrich

    Why was my comment deleted?

  • retvet09

    I would like for someone to explain to me why the following was removed? Thank you

    I’m a disabled Vet and am also a member of the DAV. Personally it saddens me that the DAV would show support for such a broken administration. Almost as bad as the current presidential administration. We as veterans would be better off going to a family Dr just like anyone else.

  • Submarine Vet.

    The care received at the VA hospitals depends upon where you are at. Some of them are hurting and others do better than most regular hospitals. I feel lucky to be near one of the better ones. Requests for appointments are always within a reasonable time frame and the doctors work diligently to take care of the needs of the patients. If the care was to be turned over to the DoD, I believe that it would be a low priority for them and all VA hospitals would soon be hurting.

  • Mike Snyder

    The overall quality I have seen in the CBOCs is dismal. It is an incredible disconnect because the emergency room and hospital-based clinics in San Antonio’s Audie Murphy VAMC are nothing less than excellent. The outsourced primary care physician I have been assigned is terrible, absolutely sub- standard but the only recourse is to request assignment to another (outsourced) clinic. Why can’t other vets be warned of bad physicians? There is a lot of room for improvement, but how is reliable data collected without adequate veteran feedback?

  • John Cole

    I’ve used private health care and VA health care. The VA takes far better care of me.

  • John d. Rasberry

    Why would anyone want to continue agiantic Federal system that is only interested
    in perpetuating it’s self! I’ve been in system 20yrs. Nothing has changed. Veteran health care is convince of VA.