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Old 09-14-2009, 09:37 AM
Location: Here
704 posts, read 1,576,969 times
Reputation: 326


thanks for the replies here so far...
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Old 09-14-2009, 09:44 AM
Location: Lakeland, Florida
6,680 posts, read 11,896,336 times
Reputation: 7884
Originally Posted by VegasGrace View Post
I use the VA health care system and have gone to Mexico twice already for healthcare and have ordered my meds from overseas.

I've found it's just best to be on death's door and go to a civilian ER than to try to go to the VA for normal care.

I have to agree and I am retired from the VA. It's a shame but it definitely appears to be VA care and quality varies from region to region. In some areas it seems much better and less chaotic than other regions.

Be very careful where you seek treatament. If one notices an enviroment that seems completely overwhelmed with patients be careful. Yes all hospitals and clinics are busy, but there is a difference between busy and being overwhelmed. If during your appt's you are constantly seeing students and residents in training to be doctors, and not seeing an actual doctor be careful.

I had two operations this summer. I thought the surgery was being performed by a surgeon, it was not. It was performed by a PA and students. The first operation was done incorrectly and caused me terrible problems all summer long. I just had the 2nd operation by an actual surgeon to correct the damage done in the first operation. I was given an apology and that I was to tell the VA by this surgeon this. Any furture appts were to only be with the performing surgeon in my case.

I have actually decided to never go in another VA after this, and will just see a private doctor thru my Insurance. Although I trusted and found the surgeon that performed my surgery to be knowledgeable, and this is no reflection on him. I just decided I have no comfort level with the VA. I feel after working all those many years in one, its over for me. They have let me down more than words could explain. and not just for the fact I am a Veteran.

Thankfully I didn't retire from the one that performed my surgeries. That would have really been the icing on the cake.
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:10 AM
Location: Upstate
5,489 posts, read 6,211,928 times
Reputation: 3813
Tricare is actually run by private insurers, souch as Humana for Tricare South Region. They bid for a contract from the Gov't. (Which is actually been bid on by new companies for 2010).

I've had no problems with Tricare's coverage or benefits. I save thousands per year over my employeres plan.
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:28 PM
1,340 posts, read 2,430,672 times
Reputation: 749
VA varies widely, the ones that are affilliated with major medical schools are first-class, in essence you get University Hospital care free.
Great ones I've been in are Minneapolis, Madison,WI and White River VT(Dartmouth
Primary VA care is all digitalized and above the nations general standard.
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:18 PM
1,492 posts, read 6,776,213 times
Reputation: 1419
I was a patient at White River Junction, Vermont....disaster! Don't think I ever saw a real MD...was nurse practicioners or whatever.

Was running a temp of 102, felt awful w/ aches, hurt to breathe, etc. I have the flu once a year but this time it was different so I gave in and went to the ER at WRJ.

After hours of waiting and waiting, I was seen by the so-called healthcare professional that clearly wasn't a real doctor who said I had "post nasal drip". I started talking about my symptoms again and how ....she cut me off and said go to pharmacy....for nose spray. I started crying, but being a woman I hate to cry in front of all those men...

I went home and discovered my daughter was sick, too. I took her to her pediatrician and he looked at me and noticed I was sick...I described my symptoms as this would help in diagnosing my daughter perhaps..... pneumonia...the doc (real doc) said he thought I had pneumonia and that he wasn't allowed to treat me but suggested I go back to the ER.

I did and instead of requesting a diagnosis and treatment I went in....

lady at intake: Name?
me: Jane Doe

lady at intake: Why are you here?
me: I'm here for a prescription for Zithromax, I have pneumonia.

She scoffed at me and so did the staff...but yep, xray confirmed it...pneumonia. They gave me the zithromax.

So, what 'could' have happened....I could have literally died without appropriate treatment.
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:36 PM
691 posts, read 2,017,529 times
Reputation: 766
The VA gives veterans excellent care, however, as with any hospital/doctor situation you need to be your own health care advocate, and be involved in your healthcare. To the point of asking the qualifications of the persons involved in your plan of care, and if you don't feel comfortable, speak up and request someone else.

All places have good and bad employees. If you see a health care worker who you feel is not providing adaquate care to you or another patient, report this person. After all, if no one knows, nothing can be done.
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Old 09-14-2009, 09:08 PM
Location: Prescott Valley,az summer/east valley Az winter
2,034 posts, read 3,529,726 times
Reputation: 7855
Have tricare prime~ well satisfied cause I chose a primary heath physician of my choice and agree with her. HOWEVER I did get a letter from my local congressman who said now was the time to get rid of government healthcare while everyone was worked up about it~ don't think he knew I was the recipiant of the healthcare he was trying to get rid of!

If you value military healthcare and retired healthcare ensure your congressman realises that now is NOT the time to gut the healthcare systems we rely on.
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Old 09-14-2009, 09:17 PM
Location: Sierra Vista, AZ
16,116 posts, read 20,145,602 times
Reputation: 8204
I have the best of both, TriCare for Life and the VA
TriCare For Life is Medicare with Tricare acting as a Medicare Suppliment, I pay Medicare Part B but nothing to TriCare. I recently went to an Emercency Room and paid nothing.

Being 100% at the VA I prefer to use that over the private sector. The Private Sector is cash driven and you are more likely to have unneccessary tests and procedures with that than you are to be neglected by Socialized Medicine like the VA.
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Old 09-15-2009, 12:21 PM
664 posts, read 1,712,645 times
Reputation: 234
eeh it's medicore at best. Since we are AD it's 100% free, and from the outside that may seem like a great deal, and yes it is free but it's ok service. Not great.

Last edited by 10,000Lakes; 09-15-2009 at 12:22 PM.. Reason: add
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:05 PM
1 posts, read 1,078 times
Reputation: 10
Active duty members are required to take Tricare Prime health insurance, which does not allow you to see civilian doctors in most cases. Family members of active duty can elect to take Tricare Standard, which costs a little bit of money but gives you the freedom to see doctors outside of the military treatment facility (MTF). If you're active duty and live/work within 50 miles of an MTF, you HAVE to be seen at the MTF, if that MTF offers the particular treatment you need. MTFs offer a lot of health services but the problem is you are also seen a lot by medical students, interns and residents, and you're lucky if you're seen by a "real" doctor. It doesn't matter if the care is good or not at the MTF, you will be NOT be allowed to see other doctors outside of the military, even if TriCare is willing to pay for your treatment with a civilian provider. You need a referral to see a civilian provider and MTFs do not give out referrals easily and in many cases not at all. They will tell you to pay out of pocket, even if it costs you thousands of dollars, if you insist on seeing the civilian doctor. As active duty member and living/working near an MTF, you do not have much freedom to choose your doctor. You have to choose among the only few and among the "doctors" in training at the MTF. For primary and basic care, MTFs are not bad, but for specialty care and complicated cases, not impressed at all. Many active duty members have complained about receiving "botched" care.
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