Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ringing phone reality and my vet care

As much as care for veterans and problems with it get in the news it bothers me that in my experience am still facing the most stunning problem to me in terms of access to care, which is hearing a phone ring, and ring, and ring...until you give up.

At least in the past I remember getting to an answering machine, and waiting days for a callback. That didn't even happen this time this morning.

Not someone who wants to share lots as it is my personal life and medical information is very personal but thought could talk about some things related to my experience with care through US Department of Veterans Affairs. And very much appreciate that it is there and like that changes are being made but just this morning? I made some calls and once past the auto-answer, trying to get to a person found that the phone rang, and rang, and rang, until I gave up.

But I know am looking at a peak time so will try again later as you learn strategies and the basic answer I think is, there aren't enough people available to handle the phones. Why aren't there? Because I believe the bureaucratic system in place refuses to set up a working system so that phone lines have enough people. Which is my opinion.

There ARE more options for contact though like online which are being developed but if you're a veteran in crisis? At least you repeatedly get the advice which works which is to call 911. Yup. New message with the recorded voice after the auto-answer, I think, as do notice now after the recommendation if in crisis is to call a suicide crisis line, if you are suicidal, which thankfully I don't need but I fear if I did, would I get a ring, and ring, and ring? I don't trust that I would not. I think that's new. Sadly the need is there. I'm not so sure about the support. But I am not in a position to check, thankfully. The problem with getting a human being to answer at the VA is bizarre to me.

Have debated talking more about what I see as problems with veterans care, and having been in a VA facility in the past, was lucky enough to have my curiosity satisfied somewhat, as I heard a phone ring, in an office, of a VA staffer who was really good, but overworked in my opinion. The staffer was not in the office. I heard the phone ring, and ring, and ring, until it stopped. That person, back then as was over two years ago, probably went to an answering machine.

But it was weird seeing the reality and understanding why. Just were not enough people for that phone line. The person to whom it went probably should not have been answering directly as was a counselor who needed to be working all the time with veterans. To me is a wacky system.

May talk more about the subject and what I see as the primary problem rarely discussed properly with the VA system now in place. But there is a debate with myself and a simple reason to fear talking too much as really believe could impact my care.

To me the system in place makes it very hard to talk against it. The ability for retaliation against veterans is real, and there is very little help and HUGE hurdles to get over if you are wronged. The system is definitely setup to make it hard for veterans like myself to raise the alarm. And reality is for those who need it, the VA care that you can get DOES help immensely.

I greatly value the care I receive through the VA, and hesitate to mess that up. But this post should be ok, I think.

And to update as have edited this piece a bit, did call later and promptly got to a person which is great! But to me is a lot about technique, experience as timing is important. And yeah keep trying.

James Harris