The VA Labyrinth in Texas

For those of us reasonably healthy, being treated at the Veterans Administration (VA) is both sobering and humbling. Patients confined to wheelchairs, or who are bed-ridden, or who are aided by prosthetics give pause for thought: survivors’  guilt,  lots of gratitude.

Navigating the twisted, bureaucratic labyrinth ensnarling the V A, though, complicates processing. In my humble opinion, it is akin to being snared as an unwilling participant in Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”. This patched-over-time top-bureaucratic layer shrouds the otherwise effectiveness of well-meaning Doctors, PAs, Nurses, and Volunteers. Patient demand exceeds supply.

Regarding disabilities, filing claims is cumbersome, if not complex. The Texas Veterans Commission, separate from the VA, will help navigate the maze. Mental health treatment … well, again … demand exceeds supply.

One example of medical care: The San Antonio VA does not have a cornea specialist. The San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAAMC) does. However, that hospital, known for excellence, falls under jurisdiction of the Department of Defense. Therefore, if recommended to see a cornea specialist (think duel cornea transplants), one must first be referred by a VA ophthalmologist and receive an Authorization Letter from the VA to go to SAAMC. This does work.  However, each Authorization Letter is of limited duration; therefore, each subsequent visit to SAAMC must have both another VA referral and another Authorization Letter.

So, yeah, I’m grateful for coverage, but Good Grief.