Post 9/11 Disabled Vets Still Opting for VA Health Care

va wait

By Debbie Gregory.

It appears as though the Veterans Affairs (VA) wait-times scandal has not curbed the flow of disabled veterans who want care through the department.

In fact, the percentage of disabled post-9/11 vets with health insurance through the Veterans Affairs Department has increased 11 percent over the last few years.

According to a survey done by the Wounded Warrior Project, 71  percent of injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans said they had VA health care coverage in 2016, compared to 66 percent in 2015, and 59 percent in 2014.

The 2014 Veterans’ Access, Choice, and Accountability Act expanded health insurance options for many vets, allowing them to use private health care providers in cases where VA could not meet their needs.

The survey revealed the most common injuries and health problems respondents reported: post-traumatic stress disorder (77 percent); sleep issues (76 percent); back, neck or shoulder problems (72 percent); and depression (70 percent).

But all of the news wasn’t favorable: disabled vets who participated in the survey reported difficulties accessing physical and mental health care through the VA and outside providers. Thirty-five percent of respondents reported mental health care access problems, with the most common reason cited being “personal schedules that conflicted with the hours of operation of VA health care.” The fourth most commonly-cited reason was “difficulty in scheduling appointments” (32 percent). For those seeking physical health care, 40 percent of those with VA and other types of health care said they’d experienced problems scheduling appointments, the top reason in that category, while 45 percent of those respondents with VA as their primary health care provider cited difficulties with scheduling appointments.

Thirty-seven percent of those using VA as their primary health provider cited a lack of availability in VA specialty clinics (compared to 31 percent of all respondents), while 37 percent of respondents using VA as their primary health care said the department’s requirements made it difficult to get referrals for necessary specialty treatment for physical problems, compared to 31 percent for all respondents with those issues.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Family Fights for Veteran’s Recovery


By Debbie Gregory.

On October 25th, a heartbreaking post appeared on Angela Tuckett’s Facebook page, addressed to the Hampton VA Medical Staff.

“My Father is retired Chief Msgt Roger Maynor, room 419A, he was transferred to your hospital on Friday Night from McGuire veterans hospital. We were told that he was here temporarily for a rehab treatment for 3 weeks and would then be transferred back to McGuire for further treatment. But this morning we are told that he is being sent to a nursing facility to basically just lay in a bed.”

Maynor, 63, retired from the Air Force after serving 30 years, including being stationed at Langley AFB. He was doing volunteer work in 2014 in a remote section of the Philippines when he fell from a ladder and sustained a major brain injury.

The family’s struggle to arrange Maynor’s care has involved two long years, thousands of miles, nearly $50,000 and a bureaucratic mess with the Veterans Administration.

Although Maynor has been comatose since the injury, daughter Teri Vick sadi, “We know he’s in there. We talked to him, he nodded his head at me.”

The cost of a special medical flight to get him back to the U.S. was $45,000. His family learned it was not covered by insurance. They appealed to lawmakers, the military, and the VA, but were denied any financial help. Maynor remained in the Philippines for two years.

Maynor’s family was finally able to raise the money for the flight and he was transported to Richmond McGuire Veterans Medical Center, a pioneer in the VA medical system for a brain injury therapy known as emerging consciousness.

Emerging consciousness therapy aims to keep the body as healthy as possible, so that the patients injured brain will be more receptive to stimulation.

However, after getting a discouraging prognosis, Richmond doctors told the family that Maynor had to be transferred to Hampton.

But following the Facebook post, doctors told the family that Maynor would be sent back to the Richmond VAMC to get the vital therapy.

Maynor’s family says they’re grateful that the VA is giving him a fighting chance.

“We’re not going to a nursing home,” Michelle Maynor said. “We brought him all this way. We paid all this money — for help. Not to be shoved under a rug and forgotten. That’s our fear – getting lost in the system. We’re not going to let that happen.

Daughter Teri gave a special shout out to our friends at Fisher House. She said, “The Fisher House has not only been an island in the storm, it’s been like finding a resort when all you needed was a bed and a shower. Maybe a little dignity if at all possible. We are eternally grateful for the hospitality offered by the Fisher House while we endure this long journey ahead. We feel just that much more human. I know that others have and will continue to receive this blessing.”

We second that, and send our best wishes to this family.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.