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home : opinion : columns May 24, 2016

1/26/2014 6:00:00 AM
Guest Column: Veterans still not receiving proper care
Gerald Morris
Kingman Resident

A few months back I vented about the ill treatment I and many other veterans were receiving at the local health care facility. At that time, I was advised that it was due to a recent transfer or loss of staff and that it would be corrected very soon.

Now, months later, there are new doctors and staff, which has brought the clinic up to more realistic staffing levels - but the vast majority of the issues continue to go uncorrected or for that matter, un-noticed.

I am speaking of doctors forcing their patients to drive to Prescott (300-plus miles round trip) to pick up medications when they could easily be sent by UPS or FedEx.

Nurses responding to legit questions from patients in very direct and often negative fashion.

Doctors who have never even met new patients making decisions to change their long-term care without justification.

Doctors and staff who will not listen to what the patients are saying or caring about what they said before cutting in and making biased, life-changing decisions regarding their health care.

Taking long periods of time to set appointments and when a walk-in is accepted, they make you feel that you, as a patient, are wasting their time.

The negative attitudes of many staff seem directed at the patients as if everyone that works there, with few exceptions, has forgotten that they are there to serve our nation's veterans. The veterans are not there to serve the egos of the staff.

If a patient complains, the attitude of his/her once caring and accepting staff changes to one of troublesome service and they do not mind making sure the patient knows it by their actions.

In short, the entire staff, to include the physicians and nurses, needs to attend some kind of training course and be required to graduate from it, that somehow brings them back to the realization of what they are here for.

They are there to support us as veterans, which includes all of our medical needs, so long as that treatment is properly covered by our policy guidelines.

That is it. We, as their patients, are not there to give rise to their needs. It is the other way around.

If a member of the staff does not realize that, they need to make a career change or open their own office so that they can pick and choose which patients they want to play with!

As long as they are receiving a check from our United States government in any capacity to perform the duties of treating us as U.S. service veterans, they must choose us over their personal needs for glory or notice or any other personal reason.

If they can't, then get out, and make way for another person who just might care.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Article comment by: V Stokes

"The average general practitioner makes around $150,000 a year while specialists generally double and even triple that. Do you think perhaps that sub-standard doctors may be taking the low paying, $70k to $80k the VA pays?"

Perhaps it's the same reason many very good doctors are in the military or reserves? Reasonable pay and benefits, no requirement for malpractice insurance, etc? My ex-wife did part of her RN training at the VA in Hampton Roads, VA. This was 20+ years ago. Though she did say the facilities were pitiful, the staff were doing the best they could with what they had. One problem also stated (as I have heard from other staff locally) is that older vets were seeking care for non-service related problems or drug seeking, thus taking away from those with valid issues.

I love my fellow Vets with all my heart...but 2-4-6 yrs of service does not mean you will be taken care of for your entire life.

Posted: Monday, January 27, 2014
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

The VA sucks. Numerous polls, surveys and investigations have been conducted into the VA's substandard and inadquate treatment of their military patients which show that the VA has little real regard for a vet's health and well-being. I've been to the VA, being a veteran, but truthfully, push comes to shove, I'll take ER care or none at all before I'll go to the VA.

Answer this question: What kind of a person spends hundreds of thousands of dollar on a medical education, goes through years of hell getting experience, and then goes to work at a medical establishment that pays poverty wages compared to what other doctors make.

The average general practitioner makes around $150,000 a year while specialists generally double and even triple that. Do you think perhaps that sub-standard doctors may be taking the low paying, $70k to $80k the VA pays?

This is a capitalist world. You get what you pay for.

Posted: Monday, January 27, 2014
Article comment by: desert dweller

When one statement is completely off the wall, it makes the rest of the statement suspect imho! It is B.S. that you have to drive to Prescott to pick up meds...mine come in the mail whenever I am out and order them! WITHOUT EXCEPTION!

Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2014
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

A.N. it is good that you have good relations with the VA or is it just that you cannot bring yourself to condemn anything the government does? I think maybe that's it!
You do know that Obama care when it fails will probably become a completely run government program and you're probably in high hopes of that since, you find no wrong with the VA in Kingman.
It is hard to believe there are people who want government in every aspect of their lives but I guess not everyone is perfect and easy to please.
Monte Wilson you are correct about the staff should be shown respect, but it goes both ways as they should not treat the Vet like homeless beggars and that is the feeling I get.
Plus they should have doctors who speak English and can hear and understand what you say....I never understood a word my doctor ever said.

Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2014
Article comment by: Monte Wilson

Gerald -
I concur, for the most part, on your observations. I use the VA services regularly however, every time I go in there are one or two vets venting at staff. Yes, the staff there needs to understand that the customer is always right but the veteran needs to understand that the staff is deserving of respect as well. After all, We could all be driving to Prescott.

Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2014
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Once again, if you don't like driving to Prescott or Las Vegas - move. Better yet go out and find a doctor that better fits your needs and stop complaining about the VA.

Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2014
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

And the left is drooling all over obamacare when the government has trouble with the VA.
I gave up on the VA in this area and will soon be living in Phoenix (A.N. will be happy) and will try the VA there.
Hopefully it will be better but I'm not holding my breath.

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