Tuesday, November 25, 2014

#Dear VA Let's Talk...


Let's talk about about the #VA handles consults and how the #NewVA might be able to improve on these.  When a consult is out the veteran gets no notification on how it progresses.  This can be a problem if the consult is cancelled or denied.  The doctors often won’t follow it to the next stage on their own.  I know, cause I’ve had to hound VA staff and my husband’s primary care provider to get his sleep issues, which point toward narcolepsy, looked at.  First I asked his PCP for a consult to a neurologist/sleep specialist to go over the sleep study he had done at another VA.  The consult was put in, but it was cancelled because no one at the current VA could treat narcolepsy.  After that, nothing happened.  The doctor didn’t follow up.  It just died.  My husband was seeing someone else at the VA and I asked them at the end of the appointment if they could check up on the consult. It was only then we found out it was cancelled.  I contacted the PCP again and asked if we could be sent to the VA which originally did the sleep study.  Again, the consult was cancelled and died until I asked another random provider at the VA to check on its status.  AGAIN I had to ask the PCP to send out a consult, this time for a fee basis appointment.  Finally it was accepted.  

The problem here is that if a consult is cancelled and more steps can be taken, no one is informed and the doctors don’t follow up on it.  If the veteran or his/her caregiver does not ask around at the VA about the consult nothing is done and the veteran may go without the care he needs.  This is unacceptable.  This needs to change.  The veteran should be informed on the progress of a consult.  There is a lovely thing called secure messaging which would nice tool to use to inform the veteran on its progress.  In addition, the consult should not just drop dead.  At the very least, the person who put the consult in should follow up on it and take steps to ensure the veteran gets the care he needs.  As shown in our experience, there were several other options.  It would have gone a LOT faster if I didn’t have to check in on the consult whenever we happened to be at the VA seeing someone else.  Instead, it took MONTHS before he had an appointment with a sleep specialist.

Please consider changes to the way consults work.  Keep the veteran informed.  After all, he is a participant in his care too!



I'll write a nicer, longer letter later and explain why this isn't ok, but for now.... Thanks soooo much for the heads up about a change in primary doctors. It's always nice to find out you're getting a new doctor when you're calling for a follow up appointment. Is this part of the new and improved #NewVA? (#VA, that's sarcasm by the way.)
A very disgruntled caregiver, DNE


Dear ‪#‎VA‬.

It has come to my attention that you have "lost" the information that shows we are married. 
Aside from the marriage certificate, the military records where I was listed as a dependent (going back 18 years), our two children and their birth certificates, our 18 years of marriage and all of the info that lists me as spouse, person to contact, power of attorney, health care proxy and beneficiary.... 
yeah, no... I can't see a thing that would imply we are married. ...
(Yes, that's sarcasm in case you didn't realize)
So now.. I need to resend you information that I know you have so that you can make sure that it's included in his records.
I also need to figure out exactly when you stopped including me as a dependent for payment purposes. Pretty sneaky to do so when you made a claims adjustment so it wouldn't be noticeable.. If my calculations are correct, he's been being underpaid for several years. 

How did this even happen #VA? Will the ‪#‎NewVA‬ be setting safeguards to keep things like this from happening?
I can only imagine how many hours of paperwork this is going to take, and how long I am going to have to spend on the phone.

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