Review: "Overcrowding Forces Tennessee VA Clinics to Stop Accepting New Patients" - NPR
This article was submitted (and well written) by Emily Siner of Nashville Public Radio
I try not to be sensational. But let's be clear: we knowingly hurt our veterans. The VA and Tricare/Champus military insurance are all products created to provide care but have morphed into huge barriers to quality, local, affordable healthcare. We might as well walk up to a veteran and kick them in the shin. :-/
In this particular case, I'm sure there are other medical and mental health providers in Clarksville, TN that could accommodate the patient needs of that population. Yet veterans can't access them due to bureaucratic barriers and, honestly, fear. The VA system is so afraid that veterans can make their own best decisions about their care that they lock veterans into waiting and suffering. How does that make sense?
Additionally, the VA system has a closed medical record that is semi-good if you're in the system but that providers outside the system don't want to have to navigate. The records that we get from the VA are full of redundancies and unnecessary gobbledygook that make a quick review of their records almost impossible.
PSYCH does something really unique. It provides veterans with the ability to see whomever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. A simple example: if you took the entire VA budget and divided up and paid it directly to veterans to get care in the general system (even our jacked up bass-ackward system we have now), every person would likely go to their nearest clinic. PSYCH creates a universal health record that all veterans can be a part of; thus, whereever they move in the country, their records automatically "follow." Imagine the care we could give to homeless veterans when we know where they've come from and what has been done in the past.
So it's not a lack of funding that's leading to veteran illness and suffering. It's a lack of will and imagination.
Is my Dad's life worth changing this system? I say yes.