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Veterans Chioce Card Scam

The Veterans Choice Card Nightmare

For the more than thirty percent of you, like me, that are enrolled with the VA, a couple years ago they started sending out cards. They were called the Veteran Choice Card. It’s not like it was giving us a choice, but it sounded good. The concept behind the program was to make sure veterans were being seen when they need to be, and not stuck waiting for months to get into the VA.

When I got my card, part of me was excited. I knew that our local VA was not only understaffed, but they had just lost several of their doctors and were now down to one. I was already waiting 60 to 90 days to see my primary doctor, later to find out that he had left our local VA. Like so many other veterans, I figured that since I now had the card I would get into a doctor somewhere in town, and might even get better care than before. Wrong!

I called the VA to make an appointment with a big smile on my face knowing it would be more than 30 days out, and I would be on my way to a better doctor. That did not happen, they gladly made me an appointment three weeks out. Knowing I had an appointment, I put my new Choice Card away and marked my calendar for my upcoming appointment. Two weeks later, I got a phone call that my appointment needed to be rescheduled. I ended up agreeing to a new date another three weeks out, and again, a week before my appointment they call to reschedule. After getting off the phone with the VA, I had a new appointment set up for two weeks out. Later, I got a letter telling me that I had missed my appointment and need to call to reschedule. With my newly scheduled appointment coming up, I just disregarded the letter and waited to be seen.

This is where it started getting crazy. I headed down to the local VA for my appointment, and when I got there to check in, I was not on the schedule. They told me that my appointment was over two weeks ago, and that I was a no-show. I tried to make a new appointment with the lady sitting behind 24 inches of bullet proof glass, and she told me the next available date was two months out. I asked about using the Choice Card, and she tells me that I can be seen at the VA hospital sooner. The closest VA hospital to me is a three-hour drive one way. I told her that is more than forty miles away, per the Choice Card program. She then informed me that I live less than a mile from the nearest VA, so the card does not apply to me. I left with my appointment several months out and decided to call the number listed on the card.

When I called the number on my card, I was again met with more frustration. They lady I talked to was giving me the same run around that my local VA gave me. This was all about being able to be seen at the VA hospital within the thirty days, but only living a mile away from the VA clinic. She ended the call by telling me that I had agreed to an appointment two months out.

The Choice Card was never designed to reduce the wait time for veterans, it was designed only to make it appear that they were trying to improve on procedures.

I hope you have had better luck if you have ever need to use your choice card. I’ve heard some veterans have no problems.