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Old 09-12-2018, 08:52 PM   #1
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Question VA Medical Care - on the Road

If you are a veteran and use VA medical care on the road (e.g. out of state), how do you do it? I have VA health care and plan on going FT soon. In this case, it's a mixed blessing. I'll have the freedom to roam but won't always know where I'll be or when I'll get there.

I seem to remember reading that some VA med recipients walked right in to a VA medical facility, explained their situation and received the care they needed. I mean after all, you can trust everything you read on the web - right? NOT!

The folks on this forum seem like a tight-knit group. At least that's what I've observed so far. I'm guessing (hoping?) answers I get here are going to be more reliable than those 'out there'. If you have a resource to share, rather than explaining it here, I'm all ears (actually, eyes).

Thanks in advance for any tips you share.
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:30 PM   #2
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Generally speaking, it depends on who you see when you walk in and what you are going to the VA Center for. You will be assigned a primary care physician in your home location and should be checked out prior to going anywhere full time, otherwise they will not have any record of you except for demographics. Some of the VA clinics are better than others, plain and simple. Some of the folks working there understand the system better than others and you will find those who will make you sit and wait and others who are very efficient. Plan on waiting when you do go. There is almost always a backlog.

Make sure you get a VA identification card as that will streamline your admission.
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:55 PM   #3
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The wife and I are both disabled vets and use the VA almost exclusively. On two different road trips my wife required emergency care. Once in OKC and once in the DFW area. Both times we went to the nearest VA Hospital that had an emergency room. They did a quick eligibility screening to get her switched from our home facility to the attending ER. Then they proceeded with treatment. Once we returned to our home area, my wife scheduled an appointment with her primary care physician for follow up. The secret is make sure you go to a VA hospital not an VA outpatient clinic. The OPCs may not be able or willing to see you. As a VA patient, our medical records are all electronic and any VA facility has the ability to transfer the records from our home facility. The trick is getting to the proper facility. That being said, we are not fulltimers. We get all of our routine medical care from the VA OPC near our home. We try to schedule those appointments over the winter months when we are in our home area. Also, BTW, he have been very satisfied with the care received at the various VA facilities we have used.
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Old 09-13-2018, 12:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by RvEd View Post
If you are a veteran and use VA medical care on the road (e.g. out of state), how do you do it? I have VA health care and plan on going FT soon. In this case, it's a mixed blessing. I'll have the freedom to roam but won't always know where I'll be or when I'll get there.

I seem to remember reading that some VA med recipients walked right in to a VA medical facility, explained their situation and received the care they needed. I mean after all, you can trust everything you read on the web - right? NOT!

The folks on this forum seem like a tight-knit group. At least that's what I've observed so far. I'm guessing (hoping?) answers I get here are going to be more reliable than those 'out there'. If you have a resource to share, rather than explaining it here, I'm all ears (actually, eyes).

Thanks in advance for any tips you share.
After years of going to different doctors in different places all over the country (and finding that it's iffy to get va care), I decided to get a copy of my medical records for when, where & what major surgeries I had and i typed all this info on my computer, adding address, phone, DOB, SS#, what meds I am taking now, what I'm allergic to...etc. I made three copies and along with the Spouse's, put them in cloth folders under the seats of my car, RV and in my carry on luggage when we go by air. Everytime I've used it instead of filling out the forms trying to remember it all, I've got compliments about the information that is easy for the doctors and nurses to read and to make a diagnosis for our care. It was HARD to put together, but the pay off was worth it. No more trying to remember it all and the doctor knew I didn't lie to him just to get drugs. Besides that, I've met a few of them that it jarred thier memories of thier past.
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:50 AM   #5
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only at VA hospitals.not clinics
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Old 09-13-2018, 04:30 AM   #6
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only at VA hospitals.not clinics
Oh yeah, regarding that paper I travel with? Another thing to add. There are times that there is no VA or a military facility nearby, but there is a Walmart or Walgreens. If you have to fill your prescriptions on vacation (and lord knows everyone trying to fill thier meds early is an addict now), just have your prescriptions transferred there instead. If not, then when you run out on vacation, you will have to call your VA to deal with pharmacy tech crosstalk and the different time zones. Major PITA when you should be having fun.
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:31 PM   #7
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Thanks all. I appreciate it very much. Safe travels...
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Old 09-13-2018, 03:43 PM   #8
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Thanks all. I appreciate it very much. Safe travels...
Ahemm, I also carry about a 7 day supply of meds hidden away, just in case of an emergency, that I added up over the months of 'more meds than I need'. I try to be honest but I know about running out of meds in a far off place and it can take all day to get 2-3 days worth.
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