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I've had the VA in Sioux Falls refuse to treate me for a heart problem and had to go to a private hospital for care and they knew for a fact that I was a vet because they had treated me for years. Their claim for me was that their ER wasn't prepared for heart problems. In fact, the ER doc. called the clinic that I had gone to (only 8 miles from my home) and chewed her out for even trying to send me to the VA ER. I have come to think that the VA ER is just a sham to get more money from Congress to cover poor management. At this point not sure I would go there for treatment of a hang nail.
 

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I've never used the VA for anything other than my disability benefits. I know people that love the care that they get but I've come to the conclusion that it all depends on which VA Hospital you go to and who's on staff, it's definitely a roll of the dice as to whether you'll get reasonable care or not.
 

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Once I was taken to the Portland OR VA emergency room for severe migraine. My wife left me in the waiting room and tried to check me in at the front desk. They demanded the veteran check himself in. There was no one else there, a nurse came out to check out the waiting room and found me on the floor in a pool of blood and vomit. The front desk tried to prevent them from taking me back and the doctor shot me full of Thorazine. That was the first and last time I was ever taken to a VA emergency room.
 

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I've never used the VA for anything other than my disability benefits. I know people that love the care that they get but I've come to the conclusion that it all depends on which VA Hospital you go to and who's on staff, it's definitely a roll of the dice as to whether you'll get reasonable care or not.
@RAMMAC -

This reflects the experiences other vets have told me in person and online, as well as investigations by IGs and journalists. The quality of care is very inconsistent. The way the VA treat vets is a national disgrace.

Whether they were drafted or they volunteered, veterans wrote a blank check payable to Uncle Sam, for any amount, up to grievous permanent injury and even death. And we repay this with awful service and care? I'm not a vet, but I am still ashamed and angered by it.

I went to a regular ER with cardiac symptoms, and they they didn't bother with any red tape. The triage nurse took me right back for treatment. I can just picture an obnoxious, snotty GS-4 VA intake clerk on a power trip saying, "If you can't prove your status, you ain't getting treatment. I don't care if you are having a heart attack or bleeding to death!"

Grrrrr...
 

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I have been using VA exclusively for my medical care since January after returning from overseas, and I have had extremely mixed results. Sometimes everything flows together and works just like its supposed to. Other times, not so much. There do seem to be a fair share of people working there just for the paycheck, if you know what I mean. They're not personally engaged with what they're doing or the patients. Then, there are the ones who really care - pretty much like any other hospital or clinic. My current Primary Care Provider (PCP) is a totally by-the-book doctor, who does what the book says and not a bit over. I sort of figure on demanding a different PCP here pretty quick, because she has proven to be less than fully engaged in my health care. When I went in for my first visit with her, she began flipping through the lab results and told me that I was good to go! BP good, A1C (blood sugar) good, cholesterol good, clean bill of health, etc. Then an hour after I got home she called me to tell me that I may have prostate cancer (fortunately, the follow-up test was within 'normal' specs)! I have noticed that when my doc writes a referral, that specialty clinic will make exactly one (1) attempt to contact me (or say that they did, anyway), and that's it. No follow-ups will be attempted, if they are unable to reach you the first time. No email, no text, nothing. Fortunately, I haven't yet had the occasion to sample their emergency care - or lack thereof. The main VA medical center in Houston is 50 miles away, so it's unlikely that an ambulance would take me there.
 
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