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Old January 4, 2013, 09:22 AM   #1
Dwight55
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Disturbing News From Vets Administration

I got a call last night from a friend, . . . he had received the call from one of his military budds.

Seemed his buddy went to the VA for some general reason, . . . got confronted by a doctor who wanted to know ALL ABOUT his guns, how many, what kind, what caliber, why he needed em, ....................

The vet got kinda defensive, . . . more or less told the Dr to mind his own business and was told flat out that if he didn't pony up the truthful answers, the VA could terminate his eligibility to be treated.

I don't know all the perimeters and parameters, . . . was not there, . . . but my friend is not one for spreading fairy tales or war stories, . . .

BOTTOM LINE: If you are a vet, . . . be careful what you say, how you answer if you go to the VA people.

I'll probably have more on it personally, as I have my first visit coming up in the next few weeks.

May God bless,
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Old January 4, 2013, 09:54 AM   #2
UtopiaTexasG19
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Free speech is still ok where I live. Telling someone to watch what they are saying sounds like a another government fear program. Anyway, Most every VET I know is pro-gun and everyone around them knows it. We should honor their service to our country, not tell them to cower in the shadows. I would tell the Doctor to go and screw himself. This is just my opinion and we all know what that's worth.
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Old January 4, 2013, 10:03 AM   #3
rickyrick
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The last time I was at the VA hospital was 6 years ago. On that visit I asked the doctor why I drive 140 miles round trip month after month just to get my blood pressure taken and blood drawn. I get a sack of pills and no explanation. I asked this very politely and the doctors angry response was; "maybe we should refer you to mental health."

Now mind you, I was going at the request of the VA to be part of the Gulf War review. I did not initiate the visits, nor have I ever submitted claims for compensation. I had went as scheduled for a couple of years beforehand at my own expense but the experience was strange. Nevertheless, I was out of there and never looked back.
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Old January 4, 2013, 10:07 AM   #4
drail
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I went to the VA one time after I got out back in 1974. That was the last time. Never again. While their intentions may be good most of them are not really qualified and many of their doctors/surgeons are people who couldn't get a job anywhere else. And as the previous poster said you need to be very careful what you say to them and how you say it. If they decide that you have mental issues or may be suicidal (in their opinion) you will wish you had never gone there. Be very careful. It is truly a national disgrace that many Veterans have no where else to turn for help. I would not answer any questions from any doctor about how many guns I own or why.
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Old January 4, 2013, 10:10 AM   #5
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I forgot to mention that my wife was right there with me and witnessed the exchange.
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Old January 4, 2013, 10:47 AM   #6
UtopiaTexasG19
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Wow, I guess I spoke too soon. I had no idea things were that bad at the Veteran's Admin. So we have another government agency that is supposed to help our Veterans and one of their side gigs is to intimidate and threaten. So sad.....
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Old January 4, 2013, 10:58 AM   #7
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About 20 yrs. ago, I was short on health insurance and wanting to follow up on a possible VN related health concern at that time, I went to the VA hospital in Ann Arbor.
My recollection of that day was gross indifference on the part of the doctors and long, long lines of fellow veterans lining the hallways, all of them in apparently worse shape than I was and desperate to be seen by anyone in a lab coat.
I decided to take my chances on my own and I guess it's paid off so far.
I think my experience back then gave me a glimpse of the future of government controlled health care in this country. It's not going to be pretty!
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Old January 4, 2013, 10:59 AM   #8
Mike Irwin
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OK, so we have this report coming via a friend of a friend...

Sorry, folks, but let's NOT jump to conclusions, and let's NOT immediately assume the worst based on what is now about a third or fourth-hand, one-side-only report of an interaction.

There is FAR too much pertinent information missing to draw any sort of concrete conclusions about what happened, what the goals were, and how this proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the nefarious nature of this bureaucratic entity.

To put it bluntly, we don't know jack about what REALLY happened.
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Old January 4, 2013, 11:04 AM   #9
thickice
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Notice the OP was quoting a "friend of a friend".I go to the VA regularly, I have never been asked if I own firearms or how many. I have been asked about tobacco use, how much alcohol I drink, and if I feel depressed or have thought of harming myself. rickyrick's experience was 6 yrs ago, I would respectfully submit that he should visit again, might find some changes have been made.
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Old January 4, 2013, 11:28 AM   #10
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I submit that vets experiences with the VA are all over the map. I have a bud who seems to have received pretty decent care in the last six months. I had a couple more buds that I honestly believe VA incompetence put in the ground way early. It's a crap shoot to me. It's still better than nothing. When flu shots were scarce, my civilian M.D. told me I was at risk and should definitely get the shot. He told me the only place in town that had it was the VA. He said " You're a vet, go get one." I waited four hours for it at the VA shot clinic. I saw many others come and go. When I asked about it, the two candy stripers told me I didn't meet the standard to receive one. Now I'm as diabetic as any type I, the VA said it's Agent orange years ago and awarded 60%, so I can be a little irritable. Anyway I asked the candy stripers if they were more medically qualified to make that decision than my doctor. Well they called security, and I bugged out to preserve my clean record. 2-3 weeks later the newspaper reported that the VA had to dispose of a large quantity of the vaccine due to poor storage. I use my disability to purchase health care I can count on. Jesus wept.
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Old January 4, 2013, 11:30 AM   #11
SPEMack618
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I got the third degree about my personal firearms twice from the VA.

Once when I had just gotten back and was getting poked and prodded fand evaluated for PTSD and the other time when I went back because my knee was hurting again.

Both times they were persistent to a point and backed off when I started getting obstinate.
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Old January 4, 2013, 11:44 AM   #12
Mike Irwin
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And let me ask this...

Can VA actually terminate someone's eligibility to be treated?

I was under the impression that no, they cannot, other than if you commit a major crime or if you hit income exclusion levels, but that it certainly CAN'T be arbitrarily used as a threat by a VA doctor or administrator to gain patient compliance.
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Old January 4, 2013, 11:46 AM   #13
SPEMack618
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I've never heard of it happening directly, but I have heard, yet again "from a friend of a friend" stories of some guys being threaten with beneift revocation or given the run around to such a degree that it appeared to be some form of bueracratic retailation.

But, again, none of this is first hand.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:10 PM   #14
Mike Irwin
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Yes, I think everyone has heard those kind of stories, and not just about VA.

I do know one gentleman who had to get his Congressman and Senators involved in some issues he was having with the VA, but it didn't involve firearms and, IIRC, it was just a case of crass incompetence at the hands of some Step 5-8 clerks paired with bureaucratic apathy.

Nothing tends to cut through that sort of silliness like some directed communication from a senior member of the US Senate who, IIRC, sat on committees overseeing the VA.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:13 PM   #15
1-DAB
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i was in the hospital last week, got a form to fill out, one question asked about firearms. left if blank.

not a health related question, and none of their business.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:23 PM   #16
Mike Irwin
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That question is showing up everywhere, not just at VA.

It was on the update forms for my doctor last time I was in. I, too, left it blank. Unless my doctor (and I REALLY like this guy) has certification in firearms safety from NRA, there's not a damned thing he's going to tell me about the subject.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:40 PM   #17
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Don't give the VA *squat* beyond the minimum needed to provide the care you need.

Ever.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:55 PM   #18
rickyrick
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The nurses, lab techs and such are fine. The doctors are not. There's constant questions in order to disqualify you from care. Budgetary constraints keep them searching to lower the patient numbers, or sometimes raise them.

Purple Heart recipients will always receive care, as it should be. Others depending on level of disability and such you will be given a priority. Enormous waiting lists for specialists, which are located in differing facilities hundreds of miles away. I used to see bulletins where vets were looking to carpool and get a ride.

But back to the subject at hand, I was never asked about weapons or firearms
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Old January 4, 2013, 03:50 PM   #19
DAdams
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VA Programs and Services

There are many VA Programs and Services.
Title 38 of the United States Code. Visit the VA Web Page at:
www.va.gov/

There are General Eligibility Requirements. Certain benefits require wartime service, and there are Documents required to expedite evaluation of services.

I went through a year long process of getting my 89 year old Dad qualified for VA Aid and Attendance Benefits, 4 years USN WWII Pacific:

He was "qualified" in that he was not able to tend to his own needs and I was granted Legal Custodian Status and Federal Fiduciary Status to handle his VA Benefits.

There were Documents in his case where as his Representative I had to legally agree that he was relinquishing rights to posses or have access to firearms.
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Old January 4, 2013, 04:09 PM   #20
ClydeFrog
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US Dept of Veterans Affairs; weapons...

I have doubts about this post & the details. I'm not calling the forum member a liar, I just think there are 2 sides to the story & there may be more to it.

I worked as a VA employee in the late 1990s(NTE position, GS-04). I worked in the VA police & security service. I saw firsthand how veterans with firearms & concealed weapons were treated.
I also get VA medical services & use a local VA medical center where I now live.
The Dept of Veterans Affairs is not perfect. There are a lot of clock-watchers & slackers there. Many of the medical doctors are sub-standard or looking to hold a public service job until they move into a higher paying slot. A few are just bottom of the barrel scumbags filling VA positions that no one wants.
I made a formal complaint to a program manager about a "psychologist" I was mandated to see. This pant-load nitwit was so off track I said he should get a psych eval! That VA doctor was removed from my treatment team.
My state passed new laws that prevent medical doctors from prying into firearms ownership or weapons unless they are not allowed to own-use firearms by law. That's fair & prudent. I'm not sure if it applys to the US Dept of Veterans Affairs. That's federal property.

I'd add that if you are a veteran & get VA treatment, if you have a complaint or dispute, go to the Veteran's rep office. They act as a advocate for the veteran & insure SOPs or standards are met. If the problem is serious, go to the OIG; office of the inspector general or the local media.
VA managers & SES(senior executives) grade do not like bad PR or problems.
The VA isn't perfect but there are resources available to resolve complaints.
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Old January 4, 2013, 04:13 PM   #21
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If you take the King's schilling, he gets to call the tune ....


I left the Army half deaf (8" guns and big diesels will do that) and though several VA Benefit guys have tried to get me to sign up for free or subsidized hearing aids ....... No. Thank. You. I have had all the voluntary dealings with Uncle Sam I care to have ..... "But you earned that!" Yep. .... and I don't intend to depend on anything that is provided by an organization that can't possibly pay it's bills. If I don't have it, I won't miss it when they don't deliver on their promises .....and I don't see how they can.

Besides, I'd be paying for the stuff anyhow, in time wasted filling out forms and such...... somebody else probably needs that tax money more than I do, too.
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Old January 4, 2013, 04:33 PM   #22
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I don't think this is new. In MA, the gun question is part of the standard set of questions doctors ask everyone when they select a new primary. Granted, it's only one question and not several like what the VA seems to be doing. "Do you have firearms in the house?", followed by "Do you have any pets in the house?". Neither of which I felt was their business. I asked the doctor why he was asking these questions and the response was because the data was for the insurance companies working with the HMOs. I don't think he was lying to me, but at the same time I don't think he knew for sure either.
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Old January 4, 2013, 04:39 PM   #23
rickyrick
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Clyde and Dadams,

It's way easier and less stressful just to go to a private doctor. I never saw the allure of the VA, looks all feel good on the VA website and stuff. The system is clogged with guys that have high disability ratings but nothing wrong with them. They need to clear out the riffraff and treat the guys that deserve it.

Jimbob, love the quote.


And to reiterate, I was going at the request of the VA for their gulf war studies as by shear chance and dumb luck I was at several locations of chemical weapons release. I was not there for treatment but was prescribed medications nevertheless, and more was sent by mail.

But, in the few years that I was going, not once was asked about firearms ownership. Maybe if I had continued my questioning of the doctor, they might have asked.
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Old January 4, 2013, 07:15 PM   #24
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UtopiaTexasG19
Free speech is still ok where I live. Telling someone to watch what they are saying sounds like a another government fear program. Anyway, Most every VET I know is pro-gun and everyone around them knows it. We should honor their service to our country, not tell them to cower in the shadows. I would tell the Doctor to go and screw himself. This is just my opinion and we all know what that's worth.
Are you a veteran? If not, I respectfully suggest that you not express opinions that do not contribute to meaningful discussion.

Those of us who ARE veterans know that the VA healthcare system has already been pushing to classify as many people as possible with PTSD. The next step will be for the VA and the .gov to declare that anyone with PTSD is mentally unfit to possess firearms. Some of us depend on the VA healthcare system for ... health care. This is especially true of those with disability ratings. If the VA is, in fact, setting out to disqualify those veterans who decline to answer questions about firearms, it's a serious issue for the veterans who rely on the VA for medical care. Advising us to just tell the doctor to commit an impossible sexual maneuver is not at all helpful to anyone.

It's not a question of whether or not we're "pro-gun." It's a question of to what extent the VA healthcare system is going to blackmail us over firearms ownership.
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Old January 4, 2013, 07:28 PM   #25
thallub
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i'm an Army retiree with Tricare For Life and a disabled vet rated at 80 percent. Went back to the VA for my healthcare starting in 2010. The VA today is a class act: i've never had better treatment anywhere. i'm on some very expensive meds for service connected ailments: The VA furnishes those meds free of charge.

No medical person at the VA or anywhere else has ever asked me about guns. i know numerous young disabled veterans, some diagnosed with PTSD: No one at the VA has ever asked them any questions about guns either.

Yeah, the VA is swamped with young disabled vets who have spent multiple combat tours overseas. There is a long waiting list for appointments with specialist doctors.
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