Opinion: Desperate VA Reform Needed in North Carolina ⋆ American Lens

Opinion: Desperate VA Reform Needed in North Carolina

Desperate VA Reform Needed in North Carolina is an opinion piece submitted to American Lens by Douglass E. from Triangle area of North Carolina.

Another day, another disturbing story. This time it’s one from the VA Hospital in Durham, North Carolina.

Patients were observed waiting for hours to be seen in the Emergency Department. One man laid down on the floor and was in visible pain. No one did anything for him.

No less than three days after this story of mistreatment and lack of care aired, another story came out of the same VA hospital. This time, a veteran was dead.

“63-year-old Paul Shuping was found in the parking lot by Durham VA police.
“He tried to do things the right way and it just didn’t work,” his brother Donald explained.

It took five days before police found Paul in his car.

“He was in a seldom used area of the parking lot in a corner,” said Donald.
The veteran served 6 years in the United States Navy. Donald says the care this veteran got at the Durham VA was great, but he was battling emotional issues, depression, and PTSD and had just found out he was denied his veteran benefits.” – WNCN, 03/06/17

How many stories like this are we going to have to hear before the VA actually does something to clean up the way its healthcare system is run?

There is a simple solution. It’s plain as day, right in front of the VA’s nose.
The VA has three major programs. Qualified veterans are entitled to three types of benefits: Housing, Education and Healthcare.

VA - Hospital - Durham
Durham VA Medical Center

The VA administers housing benefits by providing VA backing for home mortgages.

When a qualified veteran wants to buy a home the veteran picks the Realtor they want to work with, the neighborhood they want to live in, the house they want to buy and the lender they want to provide the VA backed mortgage. The veteran has the freedom to make all the decisions.

If an eligible vet wants to use GI Bill education benefit, they pick the school they want to attend, the curriculum, the courses they take and in many cases the instructors. All these decisions are made by the veteran.

Both the housing and education programs are working well and largely controversy free.
The health system is not working well and seems to make the news on a frequent basis.

Here’s a headline for you to think about:

‘VETERANS TO BE HOUSED IN VA MANAGED APARTMENTS’

Or, how about this one:

‘VETERANS TO ATTEND VA OPERATED SCHOOLS’

Can you imagine the hue and cry if the Veterans Administration would ever try to convert their housing or education benefits program to match their medical program?

Or, perhaps, this one makes better sense:

‘VA TO ADMINISTER HEALTHCARE AS THEY DO EDUCATION AND HOUSING’

I don’t know what I’m missing here, but it seems that if there are three programs in the same department where two work great and one is doing very poorly, it seems logical that you re-model the one that is failing to work like the two that are doing well.

That’s what happens in the real world but I guess in Washington that doesn’t count for much.

Douglass E., Triangle region, North Carolina

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