02 Jan The VA: More Chaos than Help
There is no question that United States veterans deserve access to top-tier medical attention for whatever conditions they may have. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was created to help veterans get the this attention that they may need, but sadly has fallen short time and time again. Veterans often come to our clinic in search of a better alternative to the VA; some common complaints about the VA include the following:
- Confidentiality concerns
- A large organization such as the VA houses extensive medical records on all of its patients, and continues to have issues maintaining the confidentiality of the records, thus compromising the privacy of the veterans. A ProPublica analysis of VA data shows 10,000 privacy violation incidents since 2011. These privacy violations range from accidentally releasing sensitive medical records to the incorrect person, to employers intentionally searching through the records. These occurrences understandably concern members of the VA who do not want outsiders finding out about their medical history and current conditions.
- Extensive wait times
- The VA is infamous for being extremely backlogged. Their paper records make the process of application painfully slow, and veterans newly applying for VA medical care often have to wait months before being able to get attention. Data collected from a Phoenix based VA facility shows that the average veteran waited 115 days (nearly 4 months) to get an initial appointment. 17,000 veterans were kept off of official waiting lists, which put them at risk for never getting the attention they need (PBS NewsHour, 2016). This is a frustrating problem for many veterans, who have conditions that warrant and deserve immediate care. Instead, veterans in need must endure the long process of admission, and in that time may miss out on receiving the care that they need in order to return to a better quality of life.
- Too much bureaucracy
- Standing between every veteran and the care they need is a complicated web of bureaucracy. Tasks like finding a doctor or filing a disability claim become unnecessarily complicated, which unjustly prevents veterans from getting the medical attention that they need. The best interest of the veteran can get lost inside such a giant bureaucratic system, which is disheartening, given that the VA’s stated purpose is to help veterans in need.
- Misconceptions and misunderstanding between civilian doctors and their veteran patients
- The medical providers in the VA are often staffed with civilian doctors. Many veterans feel misunderstood by these doctors who do not fully grasp the specific and unique problems facing military veterans. These civilian doctors have no military experience, meaning that they may have misconceptions about military work. This misunderstanding is a huge obstacle, and can prevent veterans from getting the best help possible.
A veteran himself, Dr. Angelo Sambunaris truly understands all of these issues and concerns. That is why at the Institute for Advanced Medical Research, Dr. Sambunaris strives to provide the individualized, special care that the VA fails to provide.
How are we different from the VA?
For starters, we keep all of your information confidential; that means we neither use any electronic data nor bill or disclose information to your insurance company, the VA, DOD, etc.
We also offer no-cost, individualized evaluations to make sure to get a full picture of you and your circumstances, and have flexible hours to ensure you get the care you need.
Our doctor is a military veteran, meaning he understands the special problems facing veterans and how to best develop a treatment plan for them.
If you are frustrated with the VA, you have other options. Please call the Institute for Advanced Medical Research at 770-817-9200 or visit our website www.IAmResearch.org for more information.
If someone you know has found the VA to be less than helpful, click here to learn more about our referral program.