Friday, September 3, 2010



Yesterday an 89 year WWII veteran called me to complain about a $45.00 bill from the VA.  The VA system is a nightmare.  Because he was never treated for anything while in the Navy he must pay for VA services, albeit at a discount.

The $45.00 bill was for going to the VA and complaining to the receptionist clerk that he was still without his medication.  Apparently the government is so broke if you are a veteran who has to pay for services,each time you visit the clinic and tell the clerk you still have not received your medicine you are charged for complaining.  I do not lie.  I am forwarding the bill on to the Chief Counsel for the VA and the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs.

Only a government agency would charge a WWII veteran $15.00 for each time he complains the VA has failed to send him his medication.  In Harlingen the administration at the VA is a nightmare.  Competence is considered a sin which merits discharge.  I had to complain all the way to Washington to get my blood pressure medicine.  The clerk was adamant that I was confused.  Her little computer screen showed I received the medicine so therefore I was confused.  The clerk is so bad that she initially refused to refill my high blood pressure medicine because based on her calculations I am not taking my medicine.  Yes, a lonely little clerk gets to decide if you live or die.

This 89 year old veteran made 3 trips to complain he needed his medicine renewed.  Either the clerk did not do his/her job in inputting the note to the doctor, or the doctor ignored the note.  Now, I know his doctor. This doctor is locked into an idea that you can treat lipid problems with 100%  magical diets for which there no scientific evidence they work.  So it is possible the doctor simply ignored the requests.  But even so, the VA fails to respond to the request so they charge $15.00 each time you check on the status of your medication? (Note:  he is new to this  doctor - his regular doctor took a job in SA so she is no longer there.)


Well, you can call the president of Time Warner at the executive customer service hot line and get action.  The local guys, if they speak they lie.   I was being given this line that because I have a digital box in my living room I cannot get HBO in my bedroom without a digital box.  LIE - When they send a technician who does not know how to fix a problem, they just walk away from the problem and pretend they fixed it.

Well about three hours after I complained to the NY office, I had two service technicians and a supervisor knocking at my door.  When they were done I had supersonic speed internet and HBO in my bedroom.

Why is it that I had to go to the customer service  complaint line with the president of Time Warner to get action?  We simply no longer care.


We see this in journalism - there is no journalism left in this country.  there is no newsworthy standard.  Newsworthy is now that which pleases the editor's agenda. 

Politicians are the same - the people are to be ignored.  All that matters is what they want - and as Rick Longoria noted all he cares about is getting reelected - screw what the people need.

A very long time ago in another universe Ford did a study of what the people wanted in a car.  Based on that study they came up with the flop known as the Edzel.  They then did another study of what the people  thought their neighbor wants in a car.  They came up with the Mustang.

Sometimes the people get it right - but rarely - the people are more knee jerk reaction to a problem with no long term vision.  This is why the American people are willing to go back to the same failed Republican policies which delivered us into this mess.

Basically we are a nation without customer service.


Fred Drew said...

My experience just a two weeks ago and the follow up last week was much different when I had my first personal experience with the Veterans Administration.
I went to the VA Medical Clinic in Harlingen for a blood and urine test first then an exam and evaluation last week for certain benefits.
The experiences were quite pleasant from beginning to end. The nurses that took my blood for testing as well as another that got the basic information and vitals were on time, pleasant, professional and definitely an excellent introduction to a government entity that I had heard less than stellar things about.
After a very sort wait Doctor Gogia called me for the exam and to finish the evaluation. He completed his explanation of the health issues and the benefits that were available and prpared scripts I needed including one for a tightly controlled painkiller. I found the process as thorough and professional as any previous experience and got my meds only 15 minutes after I went to the pharmacy. This one trip saved me hundreds over what I was paying. I have not always been kind to the VA in my column but on my first personal experience these fine professionals the VA can be proud.

BobbyWC said...

As I have aid numerous times, in Harlingen the problem is with the administrators and clerks - not the doctors - But Dre try using the phone and asking for the nurse - you get transfered to a line no answers which has no voice mail -

Fred Drew said...

That I can agree with. There is one medication that they had to send me through USPS from another dispensary. I got my med and another belonging to someone else. It was 1 of 4 small bottles of aspirin.
I called to report it and was transferred to several different people finally ending up with the pharmacy who had no idea what to do and told me someone would call me back. I am still waiting.....

Fred Drew said...

Now on Wednesday I am still waiting