In recent news stories, illegal immigrants appear to be getting better healthcare for various conditions while Veteran Affairs requires vets to get a “consult” with a local VA primary care provider (PCP). Then, and only then, can they get an authorization from TriWest to see a specialty doctor.
The Veteran’s Choice program is supposed to help veterans see specialists. The following is the list of eligibility requirements found at https://www.va.gov/COMMUNITYCARE/programs/veterans/VCP/index.asp#eligibility
Veterans may be eligible to receive care through the Veteran’s Choice Program based on one or more of the following conditions:
• VA can’t provide the services the veteran needs. This would mean 99% of rural vets in Arizona are eligible to see specialists such as ENT, cardiologist, vision, pulmonary, pain management and more. Community Based Outpatient Clinics are not a VA medical facility even with a primary care physician, they can’t lance a boil or take an x-ray, let alone provide specialty care.
• If the veteran lives more than 40 miles (driving distance) from the nearest VA medical facility and
• Veteran faces an excessive burden in traveling to the nearest VA Medical Facility
This is a real oxymoron, as the VA defines a VA medical facility as a hospital. Phoenix is 190 miles. Local veterans face an excessive burden in traveling to the Phoenix VA medical facility (such as geographic challenges, environmental factors, or a health problem that makes it hard for vet to travel). Driving up and down the mountain loses it thrills quickly, and one vet said it provoked a blood clot from driving up and down the mountain. For those with heart conditions and COPD, driving to the Phoenix VA is not a good idea.
• VA will work with the Veteran to determine eligibility based on the above conditions and the Veteran’s specific circumstances. No, they don’t! Personal experience tells me they don’t intend to work with veterans.
Nowhere in this entire list of Vet Choice Eligibility is the term “consult” used as a requirement for a veteran to seek an appointment with a specialty PCP. Veterans must make an appointment, call TriWest, or the VA; doctors, date & time to obtain an authorization number. Why issue a Vet Choice photo ID with member number, if there was no intent to use the ID card?
Changes to this system are coming sometime in June 2019, with TriWest being replaced by the VA making appointments once again. Veterans will be jumping from the frying pan into the pot. The VA will take over by hiring a large number of rude people for a call center, which will cost the Vet Choice Program dollars to make a simple doctors appointment. TriWest charged the VA $295 to $318 per authorization; veterans can do it themselves for free.
Unfortunately, the only way that veterans will ever get close to receiving the healthcare they need is through filing a class action lawsuit.
Veterans, are you tired of the run-around for medical care or making an appointment to see your existing specialty medical provider? Tired of calling every time and required to give your name, DOB, address, phone number, what branch of service you were in? Do you know of anyone put through hoops like veterans? No one we know is required to go through this process, why should veterans? Please email your support for a class action lawsuit to ClassAction.VA@gmail.com, it’s free.