Veteran Experience: Virginia

CLICK ON: VIRGINIA EVAL STATUS

Below are veterans experiences organized alphabetically by city.


Hampton:

[M] Hampton VA Hospital: Oct 2016- Nurse Practioner

A nurse practioner conducted a C&P exam on my without actually contacting me or having me present. This would have been okay had she actually gone through my medical record and my VA health records as well, but she did not. This NP actually scoffed at my disability by merely stating that I ‘mentioned’ this and that (as if my records had it listed only once or twice). The Regional office used her assessment (again, without me) to immediately deny me a disability rating on something I was able to provide over 66 documents to substantiate my claim. The ineptness runs deep within the VA.


[M] Hampton VA Hospital: Oct 2016-PT Advocates Office

The patients advocate from the Hampton VA Hospital contacted me from my message to the Director of the hospital regarding a C&P exam conducted without me being present, which ultimately equated to an immediate denial rating from the Regional Office in Roanoke Virginia. PT Advocates office called me on a Monday, I called and left a message on Tuesday, I did not get another call until Friday evening at 5pm, which went to voicemail (which I did not get until Saturday morning). I called Saturday and left another message and received a call back on the following Tuesday. She was respectful and nice and understood my issue with a C&P exam being conducted without me being present. She tried to inform me that the Regional Office will request evaluations through medical documentation, and I gave the reply that “If I was able to pull minimal of 67 pages of documents from 1/2 of my medical record from the military and through my VA medical documentation proving otherwise, then that C&P evaluation/assessment was not accurate”. She stated that she would have to discuss this with her manager and I told her that “if the response is that it is customary to use Dr so and so’s research report from such and such a date as their baseline to categorize a veteran into a certain group to assess their disabilities, the save your time and effort, I will require a call back”. To date I have not received a call back, which tells me that that is their ‘go to’ when explaining that a veteran is classified by this Dr’s research paper to show that age and weight gain could create this medical condition. This is the case and the reason why I sent back a Notice of Disagreement over 100 pages long. Unsat indeed.


[M] Oct 2016-Director of the Hampton VA Hospital, Hampton VA

This critique is specific to the Director of the Hampton VA Hospital in Hampton Virginia. He did not respond to my letter, he merely passed my letter onto the patient advocates office. The Director has not responded to my last 2 emails when there were problems experienced at that VA hospital. That shows disrespect and minimal care that someone has issues with services or procedures conducted at his hospital.


[ML] Oct 2016

Dr Smuckler at the Hampton VA Hospital is an incredible health care provider who goes above and beyond for his patients. I am always hopeful that Dr Smuckler remains in this position as he has truly been the only Dr that has not only treated me with respect, but has always been concerned for my well-being, for my treatments and my overall health. He is an incredible Dr and any veteran would be proud to have him on their side.

I will say that the computer system at the Hampton VA Hospital is desperately in need of a facelift. It seems that the money that was requested by the Secretary at the Congressional Committee on Veterans Affairs that was supposed to be for upgrading the computer system within the hospitals has gone elsewhere because the application being used currently is not very user friendly. I watch my Dr constantly struggle with the application and I asked him when the last time was that his system got upgraded and he could not remember. How can our Dr’s have the ability to process their patients adequately with antiquated software? Curious as to where that money went to.


[MMM]

After requesting action on a Compensation and Pension examination that did not involve me, yet was conducted and only certain files were used in determining my disability was not service connected. The regional office immediately denies my disability by copying and pasting the information provided by the NP that conducted my C&P. I produced 67 pages of evidence by going through my VA medical record and my military medical record (only 1/2 of my record) and included that with my NOD. I wrote to the Secretary of the VA, received a response by his secretary informing me that the Secretary passed this onto the appropriate manager. I got a phone call from a ‘worker’ within the VA, and he stated he was given my number by his supervisor because “I had a question about my Notice of Disagreement”. The VA had not yet scanned my NOD into the system. I asked this gentleman if he “knew why he was calling me” and he told me he did not, that he was told by his supervisor to call me and answer my questions. He acknowledged that he could not see my NOD in the system yet and I informed him that he should inform his supervisor that management should have contacted me and not just pass my name and number down and not know why. The negative experiences keep compiling showing lack of management, lack of communication throughout the chain of command and that the abuse of treatment by VA staff at the hospital doing a C&P on me without me being present clearly shows that the structure is broken. The Director of the VA hospital in question had been contacted by myself as well.


[ML]-VA Hospital Admin: April 2016
It amazes me to see workers behind the front desk of the Prime Clinics that see a handful of veterans in a line waiting to talk to any of the admin folks, yet choose to ignore them. Some of these people behind the desk are personable to some people while cold and curt to others. One of the workers was clearly off for the evening, yet decided to hang around and flirt with one of the nurses that was sitting on one of the tables behind the admin seats, just hanging out. So, the one guy that was still on the clock was helping another veteran find where they needed to go, while the other guy ‘hung out’ and chatted with the nurse, instead of helping process the veterans that were waiting. Do I expect people who are off of the clock to remain working? Not necessarily, but my advice is: if you are off the clock, leave work, go home and enjoy your evening but if you hang out and ignore the veterans who are ready to check out, it does not reflect well in your dedication.

[ML]-VA Dr.: April 2016:
My Dr. is Dr. Smuckler and I cannot say enough good things about him. He always listens to my concerns and makes every attempt possible to ensure all things/ailments/concerns are covered, and always goes over my lab results from the previous-weeks’ lab visit/blood draw/urine test. He is a great Dr. all around, and I know that if my appointment is at 2pm, I probably won’t see him until 330pm-5pm because he does not see each patient as a 30 minute time-slot. He makes it a point to give each veteran the time needed to discuss/cover all ailments and concerns. He will never get negative reviews from this veteran, my biggest fear is that he will finally reach his capacity for VA BS and decide to call it a career and give his resignation. That will be a sad day for all veterans that have him for a Dr. it rare to get a Dr. that will give you all of their attention and actually care about his patients.

Dr. Smuckler would come in on his days off to catch up on his administration. He would also brave snow storms to come to work, despite the hospital closing and cancelling appointments because of the snow storms. You can only abuse someone for so long before they stop exerting an immense amount of personal sacrifice for a cause, such as taking care of veterans. I would not blame him, nor would I say a disparaging word about him deciding NOT to give up his personal time to come into work to take care of the veterans. To me, he is a hero because he still continuously obligates his time and attention for our veterans and never asks for recognition, whereas you cannot swing a dead cat around certain positions within the VA without hitting someone trying to line their pockets or gain benefits for themselves while stepping on the backs of our veterans. Dr. Smuckler is a superb Dr., I have been seen by him for many years and his dedication to my health and welfare has never wavered. I cannot thank him enough. If you are a veteran and are trying to find a Dr that is top-notch, request Dr. Smuckler.

[ML]-VA Nurse: April 2016:
It is apparent that some nurses are good at what they do and do not let their experiences throughout the day(s) influence how they treat others, and there are others who are so burnt out that they cannot express good manners regardless the people they speak to. Even offering a “Hi, how are you doing?” in a chipper fashion (regardless how much pain I am in), fell on deaf ears: she did not even offer a grunt. This same nurse is responsible for making sure the messages sent through the eHealthyvet site reach the Dr. Apparently some messages are not cause to walk down the hallway to ensure the Dr. has time to view the message to ensure the veteran does not run out of pain medication. Its not her pain, why should she?

My normal nurse, however, is actually personable and pleasant, regardless the time of my appointment (and there have been some late evening appointments given to me by the VA). She is a pleasant woman and seemingly enjoys taking care of the veterans. The difference in nurses? My nurse is not the nursing care manager.

 

Newport News:

[MnM]: I reached out asking for support and the support entailed sending the Department of Veterans Affairs the letter I sent to the Congressman. He did not make time to speak with me. I had attempted to contact the representative and left voicemails. End result was the VA’s response was sent to me. What is the use of asking for help when all that occurred was a middle-man mail swap? Its simpler to handle my own case myself, at least it literally takes out the ‘middle man’.

 

Norfolk:

 

Richmond:

 

[JM]: Neurologist Appointment: “I waited six months to see a neurologist a few tears ago. All I saw was an intern instead of the neurologist. Very disappointed that I had to stay in pain in my back for more months.”


Roanoke:

[M] October 2016

After requesting action on a Compensation and Pension examination that did not involve me, yet was conducted and only certain files were used in determining my disability was not service connected. The regional office immediately denies my disability by copying and pasting the information provided by the NP that conducted my C&P. I produced 67 pages of evidence by going through my VA medical record and my military medical record (only 1/2 of my record) and included that with my NOD. I wrote to the Secretary of the VA, received a response by his secretary informing me that the Secretary passed this onto the appropriate manager. I got a phone call from a ‘worker’ within the VA, and he stated he was given my number by his supervisor because “I had a question about my Notice of Disagreement”. The VA had not yet scanned my NOD into the system. I asked this gentleman if he “knew why he was calling me” and he told me he did not, that he was told by his supervisor to call me and answer my questions. He acknowledged that he could not see my NOD in the system yet and I informed him that he should inform his supervisor that management should have contacted me and not just pass my name and number down and not know why. The negative experiences keep compiling showing lack of management, lack of communication throughout the chain of command and that the abuse of treatment by VA staff at the hospital doing a C&P on me without me being present clearly shows that the structure is broken. The Director of the VA hospital in question had been contacted by myself as well.


Virginia Beach:

Department of Veterans Services (DVS):

[MMM]: Last experience with the Department of Veterans Services: I went into the DVS office to have some questions answered and to have them take action on a bunch of my disabilities. When my name was called, I went back through their hallway and was told to go into the office. This was not the person whom I usually speak to. I entered and sat down and before I could say anything she speaks up and says “Okay, so I am behind in my work, what brings you here today?”. I answered that I have some questions and needed to get them to take action on a handful of my disabilities. She immediately stopped me mid sentence and said “I don’t have time for that, give me your top three problems”, I informed her that I have more than three concerns and that I waited in the waiting room for a long time specifically to get my disabilities addressed. Once again, she stops me and says “I do not have time to go through your entire case, give me your top three”. I looked at her, folded up my paperwork, stood up and and said “Sorry to waste your time, have a good day” and walked out, never to return to that office.