Bush Administration Proposes Cut in Veteran Benefits - page 3

It seems that our President has given his blessing, no he specifically gave his approval, to cut benefits to veterans, increase the out of pocket cost some veterans pay for their meds, cut... Read More

  1. by   SmilingBluEyes
    And don't get me started on Gulf War Syndromes....yes I know people affected personally who have been told in the past it was "all in their heads". Some fine care.
  2. by   kmchugh
    Quote from MedicalMT1
    Kevin, you stated in a previous post..."However if tomorrow I develop appendicitis I can go to the VA". How simple you make that sound.
    Because it is simple. I can go to the VA. If there is an opening that would allow me to have my surgery there, I could. If however, there is no opening, I would be sent for treatment to a local hospital. Since the condition was not service related, the VA might not pay for the surgery. Again, the VA does not exist to provide free medical care for life for all veterans. It exists to provide care for veterans with service connected disabilities. If, after the provision of such care, there is space available for veterans needing care for non-service related conditions, they will provide it. However, they are under no obligation to provide such care.

    As to the care you received in the VA, it sounds as if the condition WAS treated by the VA. Then, when the condition flared up again, you chose not to return to the VA for treatment. Whether or not the initial treatment provided by the VA was competent is irrelevant. Treatment was provided. You chose not to return for follow up care. As I wrote before, I could and have written bucketfuls here about substandard care offered by the VA.

    The VA created "Fee Basis" for veterans who have to have "not preauthorized care" aka, vets that have to have emergency surgeries etc etc. I did not create this law they did. Therefore yes, veterans experiencing emergency care are entitled.
    Ah, but you are missing two important parts of "fee basis." One, receipt of fee basis care assumes there is space available for the veteran. Two, "fee basis" means that the veteran will pay for the care received.

    In reference to your knee problem, I am very curious as to how you sustained this problem. The reason I am asking is because I know a veteran (worked with him on 2 assignments) who is also getting disability. He had bilateral knee surgery and a right ankle repair, which occured on active duty, "service related"...let me tell you what happened....he busted his knees playing basketball, and his ankle playing softball!!!!!!!!! while on active duty. His statements, not mine. Isnt that wonderful?
    Obviously you are fishing. I don't really care for your insinuation here, but I will answer your question. Before I do, however, you should understand that how a condition for anyone else became service connected is absolutely NO BUSINESS OF YOURS WHATSOEVER. The fact is that the injuries were incurred while on active duty.

    In my case, the knee condition is due to a series of injuries, beginning with a bad fall from the lateral drift apparatus at the US Army Airborne School, at Fort Benning, GA. The last injury was incurred in Saudi Arabia after being deployed for operation Desert Shield.

    By the way, I have a dx of post traumatic stress disorder, shouldnt I be getting disability?
    Unlike you, I won't insult you by insinuating that you might not deserve a disability rating for your PTSD. That's between you and the VA. However, if the condition does become rated as a service connected condition, then you deserve free treatment for that condition for life.

    Kevin McHugh
  3. by   James Huffman
    Quote from MedicalMT1
    Charity care turned me down, so I called my senators office. They are a great help but the VA treat you like dirt. They talk to you like you are abother to them. The clerk at Fee basis office told me the other day "I will be so glad when your case is over". They dont like it now because heat is on them due to Senators office being involved.
    You have found out one of the best uses for your hard-working senators and members of congress. :chuckle

    I encourage people to give these people something to occupy their hours. When you have a problem in dealing with any federal agency, call your senators and member of congress as Maria did.

    Of course, they won't take care of it personally, but a staff member will call the agency you're having problems with: "Hello? I'm John Doe, with Sen. Smith's office. We have a constituent who's having a problem with your agency," and very, very likely, it will be taken care of. Of course, the agency won't like it that you have made these calls, but too bad. Call them anyway.

    If you're not sure who your senators are (there are 2 of them) and member of congress (1 of those) call your local public library. They will ask for your address, and they can tell you who to call, and probably give you the phone number, too. It works.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  4. by   hypnotic_nurse
    Quote from James Huffman
    You have found out one of the best uses for your hard-working senators and members of congress. :chuckle

    I encourage people to give these people something to occupy their hours. When you have a problem in dealing with any federal agency, call your senators and member of congress as Maria did.

    It works.

    Jim Huffman, RN
    Not in Oklahoma; unfortunately the one time my dad needed help, they all declined, even though a simple phone call was all that was needed. And a special "boo" to Nickles, who (at least at that time) had the rudest staff in the universe.
  5. by   webblarsk
    It is so sad how our Veterans are treated. For all they do and have done for our country! I am a Republican, but lately haven't agreed with much our President has done!
  6. by   kmchugh
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    The numbers of disabled vets is GOING UP TOO as well as COSTS to TREAT them, Kevin, so it only makes sense, spending dollars MUST GO UP just to KEEP UP with these increases. But are current increases enough to care for all our vets properly? That is the question. It seems, Obviously not. Frankly, stories like the one told firsthand by the vet here concern me! *NOT ONE VETERAN* ought be able to tell such a tale. **NOT ONE**. :angryfire
    But Deb, you are missing a couple of points, here. If you are correct, and the numbers of disabled veterans is going up, then it only makes sense that the ability of the VA to provide care to veterans for non-service connected conditions would be further limited. The story "told firsthand by the vet" was incomplete, as later clarification from the same vet proved. She went to the VA, and was treated. She did not care for the treatment, which I have said time and again is understandable. A month later, she had a recurrence of the problem, and chose to go to a non-VA facility. Probably a wise choice, but the veteran in question could have returned to the VA for treatment. And above all else, the condition for which the veteran sought treatment was NOT service connected. Are you suggesting that the VA should provide full medical care for ALL veterans? Then funding for the VA will have to increase by several orders of magnitude, don't you think?

    Any proposals to cut any benefits to veterans is a slap in the face to today's military men/women, as well------All of this being proposed by the administration of a man who professes his deep appreciation for these same people who have lost so much in their service abroad through years of involvement in overseas conflicts and wars
    Again, nothing is being cut! As I have said repeatedly, there is not one benefit that I or any other veteran had that we no longer have. There has been a reduction of the ability of the VA to provide care for non-service related conditions, but the actual benefits owed to veterans have not been cut.

    Ah, but, I guess they are not much use once they have fought and become severely disabled physically or emotionally/psychologically---- and now medically dependent ----they are not much use to our government, are they. You are lucky, Kevin; you can move on and build a new career despite the disability you have. I am glad for you, honestly. But don't discount the experiences of others not so fortunate. Cause they are many. What of them???
    Deb, I am not unusual for a veteran! I took advantage of the programs available to me, but no more. I do not expect treatment or payment for treatment from the VA for my medical conditions that are not a result of my military service. No promises were ever made to me or any vet that such treatment would be available for the rest of my life. What I was promised was treatment at VA facilities for those conditions that arose as a direct result of my military service.

    Kevin

    (Edited to correct gender reference)
    Last edit by kmchugh on Mar 27, '05
  7. by   Tony35NYC
    SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on president Bush and all those old fogies in Washington. But then again, when you're rich and full of yourself, as most of these politicians are, you have no reason to be ashamed about anything.
  8. by   Katmease
    Quote from Tony35NYC
    SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on president Bush and all those old fogies in Washington. But then again, when you're rich and full of yourself, as most of these politicians are, you have no reason to be ashamed about anything.
    Good grief, what has President Bush done to be ashamed of? Kevin has repeatedly tried to explain things & no one wants to comprehend, they just want to keep looking at it their way & to keep complaining.
  9. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from Katmease
    Good grief, what has President Bush done to be ashamed of? Kevin has repeatedly tried to explain things & no one wants to comprehend, they just want to keep looking at it their way & to keep complaining.
    As opposed to the way you choose to look at it, which must be right? Everyone understands what Kevin is saying. What we are saying is that we owe our veterans more. It is a difference of opinion, not an inability to understand.
  10. by   Katmease
    Quote from mercyteapot
    As opposed to the way you choose to look at it, which must be right? Everyone understands what Kevin is saying. What we are saying is that we owe our veterans more. It is a difference of opinion, not an inability to understand.
    I never said my way of looking at it must be right; again, some of you are just never happy. Kevin is addressing that the benefits he was promised are still there & not cut & yet others are still argueing that they are. He's not living in a pie in the sky world that all is perfect, he's stated that there is room for improvement.
  11. by   kmchugh
    This may be kind of a long post, but I want to show you exactly how decisions are made to treat veterans. I went to the VA website, and looked at eligibility criteria for treatment. Veterans looking for treatment either at the VA or at civilian hospitals through the VA are ranked according to priority status. The first think the VA considers is the discharge status of the veteran. Veterans who are discharged dishonorably are in most cases ineligible for treatment at the VA. Also, veterans who were disabled on active service due to injuries that were judged to be non-line of duty injuries are not usually eligible for treatment for those conditions. As an example, I remember a guy at the Army hospital at Fort Ord who had severely broken his leg in a motorcycle accident. At the time of the accident, a blood alcohol test revealed that the soldier was blind drunk on his motorcycle. Since it is clearly against regulations to drink and drive, the accident was determined to be non-line of duty. He was retained on active duty long enough to allow for completion of treatment (surgery, recovery, and rehab) of his injuries, then discharged as he was no longer able to perform the physical duties required in the military. Bottom line is that if you are injured on active duty due to misconduct, then you are not eligible for treatment at the VA.

    Since all branches of the military expect service members to stay in shape, all have some form of physical training. In addition, service members are encouraged to participate in sporting activities. That includes intramural team sports, local organized sporting teams, even pick up games just played between troops. Every military facility has a state of the art gym. I had a First Sergeant once upon a time who told me that the only difference between the military and your high school gym class was that you never got to blow things up in gym class. Therefore, the disparaging insinuation made by MedicalMT1 notwithstanding, injuries sustained while participating in these approved activities would be considered line of duty injuries, and were they severe enough would allow for the service member to receive a disability rating. Consider this. While I was on my first tour in Europe, I considered myself something of a cowboy. I grew up around horses and could ride pretty well. At the time, there was a rodeo circuit in Germany, and a lot of Army and Air Force troops participated in the circuit. I tried my hand at riding bulls and bareback horses. Now, even though as a roughstock rider I truly sucked, I never got injured. If I had, however, the rodeo circuit was an approved activity, and my injuries would have been considered line of duty. (Well, at least as long as I wasn't drunk when I got on the animal.) End of story.

    So how does the VA decide who to treat and when? This is from the VA's own website:

    "The number of veterans who can be enrolled in the health care program is determined by the amount of money Congress gives VA each year. Since funds are limited, VA set up priority groups to make sure that certain groups of veterans are able to be enrolled before others.

    "Once you apply for enrollment, your eligibility will be verified. Based on your specific eligibility status, you will be assigned a priority group. The priority groups range from 1-8 with 1 being the highest priority for enrollment. Some veterans may have to agree to pay copayments to be placed in certain priority groups."

    It is strictly a funding-based decision. It is set up to ensure that those veterans with service connected conditions are treated first. Her sad story not withstanding, how fair would it be if the VA paid for the MedicalMT1's appy, but turned away a veteran for treatment who had a condition s/he incurred as a direct result of military service? If you are interested in seeing how the priority groups break down, you can go to this website:

    http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/...ty/epg_all.asp

    Those of you who decry the current "funding cuts" are simply incorrect. As demonstrated by the web site that Begalli sent us to, funding for veteran's issues are increasing, not decreasing. On the other hand, as Deb has pointed out, the numbers of disabled veterans may be going up, though I haven't seen any figures to back that up. Given that this is true, shouldn't the money we have allocated to veterans issues be spent on those with service connected conditions? Or are all of you suggesting that the VA should provide full care to ALL veterans free of charge? If so, be prepared to increase VA funding by at least 10 times the current levels.

    That doesn't mean that there are not things to be concerned about where veterans care is concerned. There is room for nurses to advocate for veterans, but channel that energy in the right direction. I'll write more about that in my next post.

    Kevin McHugh
    Last edit by kmchugh on Mar 27, '05
  12. by   barefootlady
    Hi Kevin,
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge of the VA system with those of us who do not have much contact with it.
    You asked if the VA should provide care for non-service related conditions, and my first response is no, it should not. I do wonder about the vets who claim problems related to incidents that occurred during their service time and yet the VA denies a problem. Agent Orange comes to mind, Anthrax vac too.
    I am just angry that as a nation we seem to be more concerned in handing out all types of goodies to other countries and letting our own citizens go without care. Sure, this is not a new story, but it is a sad one.
    Anyway, thanks again and have a Happy Easter.
  13. by   jnette
    Kevin.. maybe I'm confused, or perhaps just been out of the loop too long.. but since when has the VA started providing care to vets for service related conditions only ? That's not what I was given to understand many moons ago.

    And all the vets in my community as well as my patients at work all go to the VA for tx. of a variety of conditions.. none of which are "service related".

    Please clarify.

close