Wednesday, December 11, 2013


UPDATE:  As I was getting ready to post this the veteran called me - apparently he got a lot of phone calls from the VA after I made my call.  The lab workers sent the blood work to the wrong outside lab so there are no test results available for the specialist.  The specialist has decided that the veteran needs to know if he has cancer so he is going to move forward without the blood work. 

A full Inspector General Investigation will be opened.  Now I can tell you the result will be "unsubstantiated."  The IG's office is the biggest waste of taxpayers money there is.  They just need to shut down the office.  But will happen is a million meetings at the VA Harlingen where everyone will come in and blame someone for their mistakes.  Nothing will change as to the staff members who lied and blew us off, and nothing will change as to getting the clinic more  funding for more doctors and nurses.

Okay, back to the original story for today.


While I am preparing today's bigger post on the elections and corruption within the Democratic Party, I am having to help this veteran. It started last week. I took him to the VA to request some emergency testing requested by a cancer specialist.  The veteran has a possibility of cancer - this is less than probable.  But the initial blood work showed a need to be seen by a cancer specialist.

The nurse blew us off when we dropped off the request for the blood work.  I was adamant that we needed to stay until the request was inputted and then we could go over to the lab to get it done.  Actually at this point we did not know how the test was done, and neither did the nurse.  It was possible the veteran was going to need an emergency voucher to have the test done on the outside.

The urgency is, today the veteran has the procedure to test for the cancer.  The specialist will not do the test for cancer without what we know know is a blood test which needed to be done first.

After I determined that the VA in Harlingen totally dropped the ball on requesting the lab work, I called the regional office in Arlington.  Within an hour the veteran had a lab test scheduled for Monday morning.  We were assured the lab results would be faxed to the specialist.  As of this morning the specialist has nothing and the screening for cancer will be cancelled if we cannot get the test results.  There is no time to drive the 60 miles round trip to Harlingen to get a copy of the results.

I called the contact in Harlingen who told me to call him if the clinic failed to fax over the lab results to the specialist.  His assistant lied to me on the phone 3 times telling me he was next door at a doctors appointment and was unavailable.  I pushed the issue that we just needed someone to pull the lab results and fax them over to the specialist.  I was getting nowhere - just being blown off.  She simply could not understand the urgency issue.

When I made it clear I was going to call Arlington again, all of sudden the story changes to her boss is out of town and not in fact next door at a doctor's appointment.

I know the system in Harlingen - the nurses do not answer their phones - they do not have one free second away from patients.  They are not going to answer their phone while with a patient and there is always another patient waiting after they finish with the one they just had in their office.

So we are going nowhere fast.  I am about to call Arlington again - I will get those labs results to the specialist before the screening test.

On balance the quality of the health care at the VA clinic in Harlingen is the best there is in the Valley.  The problem is two fold - on the administrative side - incompetence rules at every level and nothing will change.  On the medical side they are understaffed.  The doctors and nurses work nonstop every day.  No one is sitting around doing nothing - they all to a person work nonstop all day long and well past the time the clinic is closed.

With the exception of two specialists I know of, the doctors are top of the line.  There is one specialist who is so bad, a specialist on the outside of the VA is now giving veterans a  discount rather than deny them care.  The VA cannot find a replacement specialist for their doctor so some veterans get vouchers to see someone on the outside and others are simply denied care.

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