Once again, Department of Veterans Affairs bureaucrats are making a concerted effort to prevent veterans from using our health-care benefits at community-based providers outside the VA system — despite a law requiring them to do so.
Seven years ago, while suffering from excruciating pain, I attempted to make a primary-care appointment at a VA hospital. In the week between Christmas and New Year’s, no one at my Durham, N.C., VA facility answered the phone. In January, it took two weeks to get a new provider assigned and an appointment scheduled. The earliest they could offer was April 15, 90 days out.
At that point, inflamed joints throbbing, I asked if I could use my Choice card, which had arrived in November with the promise it gave me access to private, local health care in the event “the Veteran is told by his/her local VA medical facility that he/she will need to wait more than 30 days from his/her preferred date or the date medically determined by his/her physician.”