My Experience with the VA

 

On Monday I went to visit my parents back in Ohio. Mom and dad are now in a nursing home. Dad needed me to take him to the VA to get his hearing aids checked and repaired — I hadn’t been able to talk on the phone with him for a month, and finally found out his hearing aids were “broken.”

This particular VA office (On Waterloo Road in Akron) had open hours of Mondays and Tuesdays, 9–11 am. No appointment was necessary — just walk in (or in my dad’s case, roll in). I was ready to settle in for a daylong wait.

I have to say how impressed I was. We arrived at 9:45 and signed in. Even though it was pretty crowded, we saw an audiologist within 10 minutes of arrival. He took his time with my dad, showed him how to clean his hearing aids, showed him how to talk properly on a telephone, asked him about his service (Air Force, Korean War), and we were done in an hour. They even ordered new hearing aids, as they discovered he was eligible for a prepaid new pair. They will arrive in a month.

After all the horror stories I have read about the VA, I wanted to give them props for the excellent service.

Interesting anecdote — all the TVs in the waiting rooms were tuned to Fox News.

There are 16 comments.

  1. Richard Finlay Member

    I have heard many stories like this in the area. One doctor I know points out that the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals doctors also support the VA medical centers. I hadn’t heard that it affects Akron (leaking down I-77?) but there might be an influence.

    [Edited to correct embarrassing error]

    • #1
    • April 12, 2018, at 8:40 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Profile Photo Member

    It’s funny how you can be primed for a bad experience and have things go really well. I’m gladdened to hear of the positive experience your father and yourself had. Gives you a little bit of hope.

    I had a weird license plate issue for a rarely used trailer that resulted me in me having to visit the Secretary of State (as it’s known in Illinois, DMV in most other states). I was ready for a bad experience but it turned out really well

    Well enough that I told the person at the front “I bet a lot of people come in here already primed for a bad experience; I just wanted to say things went much better and more efficient that I was expecting and I just wanted to mention that since I’m betting most people just complain.” He was very appreciative and asked if I would fill out a feedback form which I gladly did.

    There’s a whole bunch of history, mostly bad, regarding the Secretary of State here in Illinois (some of which resulted in a governor going to jail of which we have a proud tradition in and of itself) but it has gotten substantially better since then.

    I like to think that most people aren’t jerks – they just get trapped in these horrible systems when they probably really do want to help but the entire process or the tone from the top beats the joy out of their job.

    • #2
    • April 12, 2018, at 9:07 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. JustmeinAZ Member

    I’ve had similar good experiences at the Social Security offices in Arizona and Florida. They were polite and efficient. And I also made a point of thanking them for their excellent service.

    • #3
    • April 12, 2018, at 9:19 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    I’ve made a few trips to the VA to deal with one of my “disabilities.” I found the people to be professional and the service at least adequate. But, and this is an odd thing, there seemed to be an oppressive feel to the place. No one was there as a first option. It would be something if the VA medical system became the care veterans chose rather than what they settle for as a last resort.

    • #4
    • April 12, 2018, at 11:20 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. Front Seat Cat Member

    Very happy to hear of a good story for our Vets – let’s hope the rest of the VA Centers get better – your dad raised a good son.

    • #5
    • April 12, 2018, at 1:42 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. ST Inactive
    ST

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Very happy to hear of a good story for our Vets – let’s hope the rest of the VA Centers get better – your dad raised a good son.

    Hear, hear!

    • #6
    • April 12, 2018, at 1:55 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. GiveMeLiberty Member

    The VA in Pittsburgh has been excellent with providing for my brother. Five out of five stars. They are professional and kind in addition to providing excellent medical care and support. I am delighted to hear that others have had similar experiences.

    • #7
    • April 12, 2018, at 4:13 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    My father was treated at the Albany NY VA for several illnesses over the last five years of his life and we were very pleased with the hospital and staff. I have a friend who is a former Army Ranger who traveled from the NY metro area to the Albany VA for his treatment because it was much better than what was available at closer VA hospitals. My impression from talking with him and other vets was that there is a huge variance in the quality of care and customer service between various VA locations.

    • #8
    • April 12, 2018, at 4:36 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Slow on the uptake Thatcher

    These very positive stories underscore why formulating opinions – or worse, laws and regulations – based on anecdotal evidence is just dangerous.

    • #9
    • April 12, 2018, at 5:30 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. John Peabody Member

    I’m a VA employee. Glad to hear the reports of good service (I cannot take any credit, though, I have a low-level contracting job, far from patient care). 

    • #10
    • April 12, 2018, at 7:00 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Two other points of information.

    I now live in the Phoenix metro area which is Ground Zero for the VA problems and from what I’ve heard it was really bad here.

    And my daughter is a doctor. She worked at many hospitals during her rotations while in medical school and she said the local VA hospital in Pittsburgh was her favorite because the patients were the nicest and most appreciative she encountered anywhere.

    • #11
    • April 12, 2018, at 8:26 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Dr. Strangelove Thatcher

    Richard O'Shea:
    Interesting anecdote — all the TVs in the waiting rooms were tuned to Fox News.

    NATCH!!!

    Of course vets tuned into the American version of the news. 

     

    • #12
    • April 12, 2018, at 8:45 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    John Peabody (View Comment):

    I’m a VA employee. Glad to hear the reports of good service (I cannot take any credit, though, I have a low-level contracting job, far from patient care).

    Love your profile pic. 

    • #13
    • April 12, 2018, at 10:11 PM PDT
    • Like
  14. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    I wonder if most of the ‘bad’ VAs are in retirement areas, and are bad in part because they are innately understaffed due to a fluctuating client group. 

    • #14
    • April 12, 2018, at 10:15 PM PDT
    • Like
  15. Skyler Coolidge

    Tricare doesn’t cover hearing tests, so I went to the VA and I had a similar experience. Mine was faster because they determined that I don’t need hearing aids. I just don’t listen to people is their conclusion, and the conclusion of my parents as a child.

    • #15
    • April 13, 2018, at 5:53 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. I Walton Member

    The VA can learn from private medicine, the same way the post office learned from FedEx and UPS. Its primary resource, medical personnel, have lucrative alternatives, many of it’s clients have alternatives, the VA could have provided alternatives for all of it’s clients, and technology and drugs are being produced in private sectors around the world that it has access to, so it takes serious mismanagement and indifference as it enjoyed under Obama and some of his predecessors to make it as dysfunctional as it was. There are some things the government has to do, military being the primary one for the Federal government and the VA is an essential part of that, but unlike the our war fighting capacity much but absolutely not all can be privatized. The rest must be actively managed by serious professionals and constantly tested the same way we keep our military sharp and alert.

    • #16
    • April 13, 2018, at 7:07 AM PDT
    • 1 like