Fort Collins, CO
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I watched your segment on the Veteran Affairs FUBAR tonight and have to say I was a bit disappointed in your coverage.
I am a Veteran that uses the VA medical facilities, and am actually using the clinic here in Fort Collins, Co. where part of this whole thing got started. I would go as far as to say I was pushed out. In September of last year I received a concussion and 2 compression fractures in my back, was seen in a civilian hospital, and wasn't able to be seen in the clinic here for about 6 weeks because I had to have a cholesterol test done first. I called the patient representative in Cheyenne, the main facility and told her the issue, that i was supposed to be seen within 3 days, and her cold response was "you have an appointment, so what is your issue?" So you can see that I do understand the problem.
The issue I have with your coverage, was with all of the questions of what is the immediate answer that the President is going to have, that you contacted the White House and the Veteran Affairs to see what was going to be done immediately, like everyone else, Congress included, you didn't offer any recommendations. Everyone wants to ask the hard question, but no offers any answers.
A few observations if anyone has ever paid attention to any medical system anywhere. If you are lucky enough to be healthy, I hope everyone stays that way. You'll find the civilian world isn't a whole lot better.
The first thing is that we are acting like there is only a hand full of veterans that are effected. I believe between hospitals, clinics, satellite sites, etc... there are around 500 facilities in all. A couple million veterans if I'm not mistaken? So we start to move the ones we know about. What about the ones we don't know about. How long is it going to take to find out about the ones we don't know about yet? So if we start to move the ones that we know about within the system, does that mean that we bump the ones who have appointments back? So what happens to those people? You've just delayed their treatment.
Possibly send them out to the civilian community. There's a possibility right? So which civilian offices are going to have immediate openings? Or do we bump the civilians out of their spots? Yes, we are veterans. And normally a lot of people would be happy to give their spots up. However, if their appointments are regarding life saving appointments/treatments: is it fair to ask a civilian to give up their spot?
So now we are at a point where we either bump someone out of their appointment, or leave things status quo. More doctors. More nurses. More specialty care personnel. When I see my doctor, and trust me, I have some medical problems. I am lucky to see him for 5 minutes. If I try to bring up something that is bothering me, I basically get the brush off because he is trying to get through so many patients every day. So, he is trying to get through all of the patients, but I can tell you our care here sucks. Mental care is great, medical: not so great.
Maybe we start to require all doctors, nurses, etc... to give 2-3 years to the VA as soon as they graduate from their college and get their degree? That way the VA will never be short of medical personnel again. That is the ideal way. That is the only way we will never see another veteran delayed in medical care again. Even if we say we will put them out in the community. We are still short on doctors. Even in the affordable health care act, look at the table of contents and you will see there is a portion that focuses on picking up more doctors and nurses, which we have been short on since time began.
So stop being a politician and just asking questions. Start offering solutions as well. This topic really sucks. However, "immediately" is not going to be in a day, a week, or even a month. When it comes to this many people being effected, immediately takes on a whole different meaning.
Other than this one, I still love watching you and will continue to do so.