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Letter: VA health rules make it harder to get needed care
0822VETERAN 0008

I agree with R. Gary Humphries in his letter to the editor on Wednesday regarding Veterans Affairs health care. I have experienced this firsthand with my brother, Ronnie, who is a veteran. He suffered a stroke in February 2016 and is still paralyzed on his left side. He goes to the Oakwood Clinic for regular doctor visits, where they can only prescribe medication. Anything else has to go through the Atlanta office via a “consult appointment.”

For example, my brother needs an arm splint to keep his left side fist and fingers straight, he has to go all the way to Atlanta to have a physical therapist determine that he can’t uncurl his fingers, though the Oakwood doctors can plainly see that he can’t move his left arm or leg.

The VA has a Catch-22 situation with the Choice Program: You are eligible only if you live 40 miles or more away from the nearest VA clinic or are not able to get an appointment with a specialist within 30 days. Then you can be Choiced out to see a participating doctor in your area. The catch is that the Oakwood clinic maybe within the 40 miles but it offers no specialty services. So you have to go Atlanta, and you are lucky if you can find a parking spot.

Mr. Humphries should have a social worker assigned to him that could direct him where he needs to go. The best thing is to walk into the Oakwood clinic and go to the right down to the Fee Based Office and they should be able to help him (hopefully)

Sandra McDonald