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My VA Hospital Experience

I wanted to take a moment and debunk some of the negative stigma attached to The Department of Veterans Affairs. I must admit that as a veteran I’ve had some really bad experiences with the VA Healthcare System. Since I have been out of the Army one of my VA Disability Claims has turned into an appeal that has been drug out for years now.

My experiences with the VA Claims process leaves me to ask the following question: Do the VA decision makers do a thorough job and actually look at their own medical records when deciding the outcome of a disability claim?

Like so many other veterans out there I too have experienced long wait times to receive medical care from the VA. Two years ago I completely tore the rotator cuff muscle in my right shoulder. A civilian doctor I saw through the Veterans Choice program told me that my injury was one of the worst tears he had seen in a rotator cuff muscle ever. After I got done jumping through The Department of Veterans Affairs hoops it was almost four months before they got around to fixing my shoulder.

All of that being said you can understand my apprehension when the ear, nose, and throat doctor at the VA told me I was going to need sinus surgery. I did everything in my power to see if the VA would allow my surgery to done by the Veterans Choice Program. The Veterans Choice Program allows veterans to receive their medical care through a civilian doctor when the VA can’t provide the necessary care within thirty days. No such luck. The VA repeatedly denied my requests to use the Veterans Choice Program.

My sinus surgery was scheduled first thing in the morning on a Friday at the Gainesville, FL VA Hospital. This VA hospital is an hour and a half drive from where I live in Jacksonville, FL.

The VA paid for me to stay in hotel Thursday night so I didn’t have to drive far the morning of my surgery.
The VA medical staff: nurses, residency doctors, and doctors all took very good care of me.
Everyone on staff all the way down to the nurse’s aides were so nice and willing to help.
I could tell that the staff at the VA hospital really cared about the veterans that they served.

The experience I had at the Gainesville, FL VA hospital got me to rethink the negative opinions I had towards The Department of Veterans Affairs. I came to realize that it was actually the bureaucracy involved with the VA that I disliked. The VA Disability Claims process and the long wait time I endured to receive medical care for my shoulder had left a bad taste in my mouth for the VA. I received outstanding care from the Gainesville VA hospital staff. Most VA employees are also victims of the bureaucracy at The Department of Veterans Affairs.





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