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Va Doctor Denied Me Treatment For Service Connected Disability

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One of my VA service connected disabilities rated at 10 percent is for Degenerative Arthritis of the Thoracic and Lumbar spines. Total rating is 50 percent. I have had increased daily low back, hip, leg, and neck pain for several months. Recently, an MRI and X-rays were done and the Spine doctor diagnosed me with lumbar spinal stenosis with right foraminal stenosis, cervical spondylosis, hip osteoarthritis, and sciatic nerve pain in right lower extremity. The spine doctor recommended either chiropractic manipulation or physical therapy. I said to myself, I am VA service connected for a back (spine) disability, so I will go to the VA and ask for either chiropractic treatment or physical therapy treatment. I made an appointment with my new VA primary care doctor and finally got the appointment 3 months later.
The meeting started out bad and ended up worst. I tried to give the doctor a paper copy and a disc containing the MRI and X-ray results, the Spine Doctor’s report, and the Spine Doctor‘s prescription for chiropractic or physical therapy treatment. She told me not to interrupt her while she was typing on the computer. I apologized. The doctor then told me she did not have time to read anything because she was only scheduled with me for 20 minutes. As it turned out she spent 40 minutes with me asking personal questions and updating the computer with the answers I provided. Finally, she asked why I was there. I told the doctor I was there to ask for chiropractic or physical therapy treatment. She said the VA does not provide chiropractic care (I remember reading something several years ago saying the VA now provides chiropractic care). Then I asked the doctor about the VA providing me with physical therapy and was told that Audie Murphy was short on physical therapy specialists so she would not refer me for physical therapy. My next question was then how about sending me outside the VA system on a fee service basis. I was told that is not going to happen. Then I was told that just because I have a VA service connected disability does not mean that the VA has to provide me medical treatment for that disability and that if I want care, I should go the Medicare route. She finally did ask for the spine doctor’s report. Then she listened to my back and chest, had me walk about 20 steps down the hall and said “well your legs are fine”. Then I told her I had been having some problems with my right hand and that I can not write legibly. She said she thought I might have Parkinson’s disease - whatever that is. Now, I need to research Parkinson’s disease. Needless to say, by the time the appointment was over, I was steaming and had smoke coming out of my ears. This was my first time ever going to the VA asking for medical treatment. I usually had all my medical care at the local military hospital or through Medicare. My last comment to the doctor was maybe I should just go home pack my tooth brush, toothpaste, and shaving kit and go to Audie Murphy, sit in the hall and wait for someone to ask me why I have been sitting there so long. She said try it, but it ain’t gonna work. I left a telephone message, a week ago, with the Audie Murphy Patient Advocate office, but they have not returned my call. I am now in the process of submitting a claim to ask for increase for degenerative arthritis of the thoracic and lumbar spines.
My questions are:
- Was the VA doctor correct in telling me that the VA is not required to provide medical treatment for my service connected disability? I have checked many laws and regulations governing the VA health care system and cannot find anywhere that says whether or not the VA has to provide me treatment.
- A second question would be if the VA is required to provide me treatment and does not provide it, would I be justified in filing a claim for unnecessary pain and suffering caused by the VA not providing treatment?
- A third question would be should I put a statement in my claim letter that says my VA primary care doctor refused to refer me for physical therapy because the Audie Murphy VA hospital is short on physical therapy specialists?
- A fourth question would be if the Audie Murphy Patient Advocate office does not respond, should I notify the VA Inspector General’s office regarding this incident?
Any suggestions or help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Dick Hill
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Contact the Chief of Staff Office at the hospital. If that doesn't work, I have a list of other resources that will more likely get this doctor fired.

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With the current controversy going on regarding the VA medical system, I believe you could probably find a local attorney who would love to go after this doctor and the VAMC and probably take the case pro bono. You also might want to reach out to the local news media.

I recently saw a local news report where a veteran had been denied treatment for his cancer for several months by the VAMC in Dublin, Georgia. The veteran claims the VA oncologist stated his cancer was spreading and he needed two different types of treatments for his cancer. One of the treatments has been approved but the veteran claims the VAMC will not start any treatment until both treatments are approved. The veteran reached out to the local news media with his story and a local attorney offered his services and appeared on a TV news program with the veteran demanding a response from the VAMC in Dublin. The VAMC in Dublin indicated they are currently reviewing the veteran's complaint and will respond after they review his case. So far, no response but the attorney and the local news media have put a lot of pressure on the Dublin VAMC to get this matter resolved so the veteran can receive his treatments. I don't think any VAMC wants negative publicity at the present time. Hopefully, the Dublin VAMC will do the right thing before it's too late.


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