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VA Hospital vs Private Hospital

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  • Elder

I went for an eye exam yesterday and I was very happy with the results.  I know I have been down on them in the past but the service is just as good as a regular clinic now days IMO.  I am still not crazy about the dental service but maybe that has improved as well.  I need to see a podiatrist and maybe a back doctor.  I will use the VA probably.  I just got to get my PCP to refer me.

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At least "some" of the problems with VA medical, is because of:

1.  Physican pay is mostly lower at VA than in private practice, because VA wont pay docs enough.  

2.  Unions often force VA to do things which are unhelpful to Veterans.  

3.  Negative attitude among many VA employees.  I hear stuff like, "well you get your medical care for free, so what do you expect?"  Bad attitude.  The VA needs to be able to fire poor employees, but often the Union prevents just that.  

We paid for our medical care the same way employees pay for theirs..for working.  We earned "almost nothing" for 4 years, and got a promise VA will take care of us.  My starting pay was about $85 per MONTH.  Then we got a raise to around $300 per month.  "Part" of our pay includes benefits, such as medical care.  We earned that, and VA employees often think "they earned their medical care" but somehow do not think Veterans, many of who risked their lives for our country, somehow does not deserve their health care benefits, or, even worse, that Veterans are freeloaders and "they should take what is given to them" without complaint.  VA has gotten away with horrible treatment for many Veterans, that would not be tolerated in the private sector.  Its exceptionally difficult and complex to sue the government for bothched health care, where its much easier in the private sector, forcing Private care docs to improve their service or be fired.  At Va, the unions often prevent them from firing bad employees.  As an example, this dentist got away with infecting around 580 Veterans with Hep C over many many years:

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  • Elder

VA has been pretty awful at times, but I at least got to see a doctor during the pandemic.  I could not find a doctor to treat me in private sector for about 18 months.  I did have a private doctor infect my foot with a staff infection due to the fact he did not have clean needles when he injected my foot.  I developed a really toxic infection and had to have an operation to save my foot.  I tried to sue the bastard but no lawyers would take my case.  Almost as bad as the VA.  I basically agree with what Bronco is saying.  To get good care you have to stay on the VA like a wet diaper.  Maybe the private sector doctors have gotten so bad that the VA is starting to look good to me.  My poor wife had a problem like an anxiety attack.  I did take her to local hospital and the kept her there for days and ran $50,000 worth of tests on her and found nothing.  Fortunately I have good insurance on her.

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Often there are reviews on doctors.  (Not so much VA).  

I had total knee replacement in 2017.  Before I did it, I waited in the waiting room of the 

VA doc I was considering.  He had rave reviews from Veterans in the waiting room and multiple 

VA employees (nurses, etc) working there.  I spoke with several Vets who had surgury with this doc.  All were pleased.  

I went ahead with the VA surgury.  I got a great result, and, not so much with other people I spoke with who had similar surgery with different docs.  

It was "extra legwork" for me, but my knee says it was worth the time and research as my knee is way, way way better than before surgury, (knee pain level: 0 now).  

I do similar legwork research on cars before I buy them, and get great results with that also.  

Its about the 5P's..Proper Preperation Prevents Poor Performance.  With docs, its about research and learning about the results other patients have before agreeing to the surgery AND, of course doing the physical therapy the doc orders.  My wife, a retired RN, insisted I do everything the doc asked, and Im glad.  

She was a heart nurse.  The doc does surgery, sends patient home, with instructions like:  No excessive alcohol, no smoking, no junk food, control your blood pressure,  and the like.  And, she would often see the same patient back again in a few weeks or months because they did not comply with doc's orders.  Its often "life or death" and some people choose to ignore doc anyway.  

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  • Elder

I agree that you need to know about a doctor who is going to do surgery on you.  Sometimes in an emergency you have to take what is available.  I have good insurance so if I have an emergency I am going to the closest hospital available.  For a lot of non-emergency type things VA is about as good or better than private sector.  This is my experience. 

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