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Old 05-30-2014, 10:46 PM
Location: Idaho
5,811 posts, read 6,047,794 times
Reputation: 12279


Originally Posted by ElkHunter in a different thread
If you are a veteran, Cheyenne and Sheridan have VA hospitals. There is also 14 or so VA Clinics around the state.
The subject of the VA center in Sheridan comes up frequently in this WY sub-forum. Are the issues that have been in the national news the past few weeks/months also an issue in the Sheridan VA center? Is the waiting time/list for getting an appointment also something to be concerned about at the other state VA clinics? If I have other insurance, would there ever be a reason to avail myself to VA medical care? (Yes, I'm a vet.)
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:22 PM
Location: Aiea, Hawaii
2,214 posts, read 2,675,015 times
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Volosong i get my insurance from Tri-Care prime, retired Military insurance. When i retired I applied for VA medical Benifits, but was informed i didn't have any service related injuries, so i was denied. Even though I was diagnosed Melanoma skin cancer on active duty. When the time comes i have to make a decision at age 65 a few years away yet. To keep Tri-care for life or Medicare. I plan on keeping Tri-Care for life, but i still have to apply for Medicare and be accepted by letter. Then i can change and keep Tri-care for life. Tri-care allows me to see civilan doctors for my care as long as Tricare is accepted at their office or hospital. So far every where i have asked. I am accepted.

Did you sign up and get accepted for VA Medical benifits? If you did. You should be able to change your location. But the VA is a mess right now. No telling when they will fix the situation. If not you can use, your own Insurance.
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Old 05-31-2014, 05:38 AM
Location: Secure, Undisclosed
1,984 posts, read 1,496,131 times
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The local VA just passed a major inspection, so the issues you hear about in the news today weren't specifically found here in Sheridan. HOWEVER...

The 'VA medical center' here in Sheridan isn't a typical VA medical center - per se. It is a PTSD/substance abuse treatment center.

It has a small clinic for routine care appointments, lightweight medical treatment and emergencies, but that's all. Anything serious gets shipped out to South Dakota or Cheyenne (where the wait list problems DO exist). You can get a flu shot every October, routine meds and referrals out - and that's about it.

If you have private insurance and seek treatment at the VA, they will bill your insurance company if you are not otherwise eligible for VA care. (Their eligibility cut off is annual income of $43,500 or more and/or service-related illness/injury). If you have TriCare, they will see you emergently and then refer you out for most things. (The local hospital, Sheridan Memorial, takes TriCare, too.)

Everyone associated with the Sheridan VA says they are they nicest, kindest people on the planet. I know a handful of them and they are indeed very nice. But for serious medical issues, here are some Sheridan area examples of VA care: A guy I know (former SF) needs two ankles, two knees and three vertebral joints replaced - all combat related. (If I push him, he falls over like a weeble. You know the jingle, 'weebles wobble but they don't fall down.' He falls downs.) He's been on the list(s) for years - and his wife works there. Another friend just had his hip replaced - in the private community. He had been on the list for years, where the VA kept telling him he was scheduled for (another) six months out. He about couldn't walk anymore so he went downtown to his own surgeon and paid for it privately. Yet another friend is number one on the 'first bed available' list at Cheyenne. He just entered the 23rd week of being in THAT enviable position.

There are lots of reasons to retire in Sheridan, but the availability of regular medical care through the VA isn't one of them.
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Old 05-31-2014, 06:54 AM
Location: Spots Wyoming
18,696 posts, read 39,049,075 times
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Yes, the Sheridan VA has some problems, but nothing like what the news teams are reporting from other VA's.

The Sheridan VA did an investigation and was found to be clear of any wrong doing, however, the person that did the investigation is one of the Schedulers. Normal wait times at the Sheridan VA is 6 weeks from the time you call for an appointment until the appointment. The VA is supposed to be 2 weeks, not 6. But the VA's that are in hot water have people waiting a year to be seen.

There are approximately 400 beds in this VA. That includes the SNU (Special Needs Unit), the Nursing home, substance abuse section, and the medical area. The primary purpose of this va is Mental, but they DO have a medical section. 32 beds for the hospital, Building 71, 3rd floor. I have been in there several times. They do NO cutting at this hospital. So when I went in for a hernia, they admitted me at this VA for 2 days, and then took me to Sheridan Memorial for the surgery. They kept me there, overnight, and then transported me back to the VA where I recouped. Back in 2005, I had some major work done. I went to the VA and was admitted, they thought it was Galbladder. As soon as Billings could get me in, they put me in an ambulance and transported me to Billings. It was more than Galbladder. My galbladder had burst and I had an infection. They removed 60% of my colon, 60% of my large intestine, and 40% of my small intestine. They only kept me in Billings for 3 days and then transported me back to the VA where I spent 53 days in the VA hospital. So to say they don't have medical is kind of unfair. They don't do any cutting, but they do all the prelim, xrays, tests, etc... and then send you out to be cut on, then immediately bring you back as soon as you are stable.

Standard appointments, flu, sore throat, colds, broken leg, things like that, they do. There is a triage unit that has about 10 or so doctors for standard appointments. If admitted, they take you up to the 3rd floor. ALL rooms are single person rooms. They just put several million dollars into refurbing the medical unit and it is outstanding. The nurses and doctors are top notch. I might add that I have also been in Memorial Hospital and they scare the hell out of me. Simple things like meds. At the VA, the bring the med cart into your doorway so you can watch the nurse. She first scans your wrist band and the computer on the med cart brings up your profile. She then has to scan each medication and the computer check marks each item. Then she brings the meds over to you and you take them. She scans complete and off she goes. At memorial, a nurse, LPN, or whatever (no name tags) walks in with a little cup full of pills and says, "Here take these." When they did that, I asked what a particular pill was. The nurse said, "Well go ahead and take it, and then I'll go look it up and let you know." I said, "No, first you tell me what I am taking, before I swallow it." The VA, had the computer right there and would explain each pill. She would bring the little cup over with pills and tell you, "This one is for this, that one is for that, the yellow capsule is such and such. I felt a lot safer at the VA.

Great radiologic department, xrays, cat scans, MRI's everything. Lab is right across the hall with full lab testing available. There is a dental department, Optomitrist, etc...
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Old 05-31-2014, 08:43 PM
Location: Idaho
5,811 posts, read 6,047,794 times
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Originally Posted by Rescue3 View Post
...Their eligibility cut off is annual income of $43,500 or more and/or service-related illness/injury. If you have TriCare...
Thanks for the info, guys. Looks like I don't qualify on either count above. My income right now is quite a bit higher than 43.5k and will be about that once I retire, (I hope or think so). I also don't have a service-connected disability/injury/illness. My brother who was a Navy Lifer thinks I might have a good case due to Agent Orange and its connection to diabetes, (which I am). However, the diabetes I have is due to genes and I'm not one to game the system to my own selfish gain.

When I lose thirty pounds of blubber, I'll be able to get off all meds, so that's what I'm working on this summer. Realistically, where I end up for my retirement home will be heavily influenced on what type of medical I can get. Since Kaiser do not have any facilities in WY or ID, I'll have to go with someone else. My employer will give me a a few bucks to pay for a lot of it. I still have to investigate which medical companies operate in WY.

Thanks again for the help. Looks like I don't fit into the Sheridan VA. My mind is okay, (well, in my own mind I think so - other may differ), and the only addiction I have is Ice Cream and diet sodas.
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