Today at my long awaiting appointment at the VA I had the pleasure of meeting a few older Veterans in the Pharmacy. As we all stood around waiting for our number to be called it occurred to me that past, present and future soldiers will endure the same fate that all of us Veterans are experiencing today.
As I was waiting for 2 hours to pick up my new medication I had the pleasure of speaking with a Vietnam Vet name Robert. He was explaining to me how he had been waiting for over 6 months for an appointment and that he eventually had to go and see a civilian doctor who was able to adjust his medication and change his medication stating that he was on the wrong medication. He was at the VA trying to have these prescriptions filled because he is on a fixed income and even being 100% service connected he couldn’t afford the $200 for the prescription. So he spoke to the pharmacy tech and they explained to him that the only way they would fill them is if his doctor referred him to his civilian doctor. He explained to them that he would have to be able to see his VA doctor first. In short they said it was out of their hands and because he couldn’t wait for his appointment they couldn’t fill his prescription. So now there’s a Veteran without the appropriate medication and the after affects could be devastating.
Still waiting for my number to be called I spoke with Mark. Mark was a Marine during the Vietnam War and has had multiple surgeries and until this year has never really had any issues with the PHX VA. For the past 6 years Mark’s medication had been automatically refilled an sent to his home. But for some reason this month they didn’t arrive. When he came in the VA said that they can’t automatically send medication that you have to go online each month and electronically submit a refill. Mark is in a mobile chair and seldom leaves the home so to have to come to the VA was very hard for him today. Mark has been taking the same medication for 6 years and will be on the same medication for the rest of his life, so why not save the Veterans time and reduce wait times by automatically sending prescriptions that will not change.
The last man I spoke with was in front of me trying to receive his medication that for the past 2 months hasn’t arrived by mail and he has spoken with the post office and they can’t account for any package coming through the mail. So he asked if he could pick up his prescription and they told him that the only way he could pick up his prescription was if it was a new prescription, that all prescriptions have to be sent through the mail. So again, another Veteran without his medication waiting for his medication in the mail that hasn’t arrived in 2 months.
I tell these stories to give those that read this an insight to the VA. I spoke with each of these Veterans and tried to sympathize with them and let them know they aren’t alone. I think with the older Veterans that is the case, they don’t think they have a voice and that they are alone in the fight. I let them each know they are not alone and that hopefully soon someone will be their voice and that they will be heard. I breaks my heart and saddens me that these men and women sacrificed so much to serve their country and they are having to deal with poor health care.
Our Veterans in my eyes have built the backbone of this country and will continue to move this country forward. We just need to let their voice be heard and provide them the best care we can and be there for them through it all. We all must be advocates for Veterans. They are the reason we are still a free country and why we are the greatest country on earth. Without Veterans, we wouldn’t have an America.