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Veterans, Soldiers, the VA – What They Represent to Private Patient Advocates
My husband is retired from the Air Force* after serving for 20 years during the Vietnam era. My father served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. These two veterans, the men I have loved the most, and who represent millions of other American soldiers, men and women, deserve all the respect Americans can possibly muster not only today, Memorial Day, but every other day of the year as well. I raise this point because like you, I’ve been hearing and reading about the problems veterans have had getting the care they need from the VA (Veteran’s Administration) Health System. The allegation is that dozens of veterans died, and thousands more have been further debilitated, as they sat on waiting lists to see doctors or receive treatments they needed. Even if the stories are only partially true, they are heartbreaking for the loss of each of them and their families left behind, and they leave us angry that these people, who put their lives on the line for our freedom, would be treated so poorly. So what does that have to do with professional patient advocates? It represents opportunity for us to help those who need our help, whether or not they are soldiers or veterans. The VA system hasn’t failed because it’s a system. It has failed because people – decision makers – DON’T CARE. The decision-makers (like much of the rest of healthcare) only focus and care about MONEY, not lives, or quality of life. Decisions made are about lowering costs and rationing – anything that will help them balance their budgets. The mess was clearly created because money got in the way of the mission – caring for soldiers and veterans. One of the most important things private advocates do is fill the gaps left by the existing healthcare system. The gap we fill is that WE DO CARE. And then provide services accordingly. What we aren’t hearing in the press, and the direction I haven’t yet seen the conversation going, is that the VA represents just the most visible of failed healthcare systems. As our …