I glanced at the morning headlines, and saw this one:
"VA Offers Appointment to Veteran Two Years After His Death"
That is an eye catcher, and it should be, but the headline does not tell the real story. Slow treatment at the VA Medical Center for our Social Security clients is a fact of life we have been dealing with for many years, but when these stories break, a "pile-on" mentality can arise, especially if a few opportunistic politicians get in the mix.
This scrutiny on the VA health system is well deserved, but there are quite a few people working at the VA that care about disabled Veterans, despite the culture they work within. I recall a Social Security disability client with a case years ago involving a combat Veteran with PTSD. Official policy at the time forbid providers to offer any information to Social Security claimants seeking disability, or to their attorneys. That stuff, the VA reasoned, was included in the chart note. It was not.
I somehow got the direct phone number of a psychologist, and she was willing to help, but when the administrators at the hospital found out I was working with this doctor, everything came to a screeching halt. She explained it bluntly: "I could lose my job."
It is nice to know that there are people in these organizations that strive to carry out the mission of helping Veterans. They should not be lumped in with the others, like, for example the VA Regional Counsel's office.