VA Recent Woes Have Been Long in the Making
The recent stories about the long wait veterans have to endure to see a doctor for the first time and the possible loss of life because of this wait is nothing new to veterans and those trapped within this system. For some they are quick to blame this administration for these stories but if they do a little research, they may learn that this has been an on-going problem since the Reagan Era if not further back. So let’s not get lazy and ask only those veterans we know or the new breed of veteran, ask those who have been sitting in VA facilities for years. The issue should be if this time will be treated as those times were. A major story for a few months then as another shiny object appears, becomes just another whisper in the back drop. You see, stories that sell papers may be the objective but to those veterans trapped in this maze, it is a little more than that, it’s a matter of life or death.
I believe it was Montel Williams who suggested that the VA uses the services of those who previously served as a medic in the Navy to sort through the long list of veterans and help prioritize them. A good idea but still the problem of getting in to see a doctor is still hanging over the heads of veterans like a dark ominous cloud. Some has suggested that the pay for doctors be increased to draw more doctors into the service of VA or forgive their large debt of student loans for a few years of service but then you will have doctors getting into it to pay off their million dollar houses, Mercedes or rolls and only to dump their student debt for once that happens, they are free to leave and join some medical group or private practice. The only issue with that is you are veterans for the rest of your life and not for a few years so even though the number of those waiting may dwindle, the long term care that we deserve will suffer in the end.
A better way may be to continue the services of those who served as medics by allowing them to transition from military service to civilian service directly to the VA. Continuing their pay rates and promotions as if they were still in and even allowing many who wish to become licensed and certified doctors to do so at a reduced cost or through the hospital itself. Allowing a fellow veteran to choose to serve their fellow veterans may be a calling that many cannot turn down. This also goes a long way in helping to employ returning veterans and not have to see them ending up in some soup kitchen line or standing on the corner with a sign. Just my opinion, I could be wrong and if so ME CULPA.