Florida veterans share their VA stories

Hundreds of veterans are sharing their experiences with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on MyVAStory.org, a new Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) platform which launched last week. The organization has been encouraging veterans from around the country to submit their stories to the website or on social media using #MyVAStory.

Here are a few of the stories we’re seeing in Florida:

Douglas, Army Veteran:The Local VA Patient Advocate Was of Absolutely No Help.” “I chose treatment through the Choice Act, and was diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer. The local VA patient advocate was of absolutely no help. Choice Act fought for me every step of the way, but after 24 phone calls and 20 hours plus of my time, I got the Choice Act to pay for my treatment.”

Bob, Army Veteran: “I Was Told To Go Home and Take Robitussen.” “I went to a VA clinic on a Friday with a bad cough and fever. I was told to go home and take Robitussen.” I asked for Tami-Flu and was told my temperature wasn’t high enough. On Monday, I went to a hospital emergency room and was diagnosed with pneumonia.”

David, Army Veteran: “My Trouble With VA Started On Day One.” “The local VA service organization made many errors on my FDC. My local VA rejected my FDC. I sought help from Congressman Jeff Miller, who got my application back on track. In Oct 2016 I had my CP exam at a JACC. The doctor treated me like a criminal. She said, ‘You don’t have PTSD! You have Personality Disorder…’ My psychiatrist has written a detailed diagnosis of PTSD that my attorney is using to file a NOD and an appeal. I can see why the 76 year old committed suicide recently at a VA facility.”

Robert, Veteran: “I Was Told There Were Not Any of My Medical Records There, Therefore I Would Not be Able to Secure An MD for My Care.” “My VA doc was in Indiana several years ago. I was in the process of moving to Florida, and requested that my VA medical records be transferred to that VA Outpatient facility. I was told this would be taken care of. After my move, I went to a Florida facility to see when I could be able to see an MD for continued care, etc. I was told there were not any of my medical records there, therefore I would not be able to secure an MD for my care. This went on and on for 17 months. Towards the end of this time period, I finally was able to make telephone contact with a retired Army colonel at a Florida VA facility. I explained my situation and he said he would look into it. I FINALLY received a call from this colonel a week or so later and he told me that he had located my medical records in Georgia. In some VA employee’s ‘in-box’ for apparently months and months!!! He advised I contact another Florida VA facility after a few days and things should THEN “be in order.” I called the another facility about a week later, and then was told I would be seeing my Florida VA facility within a week. Will it ever end?”

Aly, Army Veteran and Military Family: “Thankfully, I Have Access to a Non-VA Provider.” “The last message I left took me a week to get a return call, and that was only because I also sent an email via myhealthyvet. The answer I was given: based on the symptoms you are describing you need to go to an emergency room. Why thank you! — a week later. Thankfully, I have access to a non-VA provider and had already been seen by the time the VA nurse decided to call me back.”

William, Army Veteran: “I Asked for a Transfer to Another Doctor — Which Took 6 Weeks.” “I was being seen in at a VA in Florida. I was experiencing major pain and when I tried to tell my Primary Doctor, she wouldn’t listen. Then she told me if I didn’t like how she was treating me, I should find someone else. So I reported her, with no results, and I asked for a transfer to another doctor — which took 6 weeks. Meanwhile, I’m in terrible pain. Well, I finally got to see a doctor at another local VA, and guess what they found? I was having terrible pain because I had a 7mm stone that was causing me to faint from the pain. They had to do emergency surgery to get it out because it was too large to pass. So I had to suffer for no other reason than the doctor thinking she doesn’t have to listen to the patient.”

Each of the stories are being read and compiled, and CVA’s policy team is looking for broad themes. This information will help inform the kind of VA reforms CVA will fight for moving forward.

To read more stories or to learn more about the project, visit www.MyVAStory.org.