VETERANS CORNER: Last couple of years have been hard on veterans

by Gary Kennedy

The views of the author in this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.

The past couple of years have been hard for us. Our veterans have found it to be extremely so. I have lost many friends and more are preparing to meet their maker. It’s a time when we pray and hope that for the most part we got it right. It’s a heart breaker to say good bye and rely on what comes next. It’s a time to make amends and seek forgiveness for those things we know shouldn’t have occurred or we should have not been part of or allowed. I had someone I have loved for a very long time ask me, “Gary do you think that I have been a good enough person to be allowed to have another chance to prove myself?” What would your answer be? Mine was, “you have always had a good heart and never went out of your way to hurt anyone. You gave when others were in need. I’m sure those things are taken into account and used in the ultimate assessment.”

I find myself staring up at the night sky often now with extreme imagination and wonder. I am amazed at the beauty and perfect harmony the celestial bodies display when the sky is clear and my heart is wide open with questions.

I try my best to make sure they are represented in a now political way and that promises that are made are promises that are kept; whether you’re a Democrat or Republican. I believe after God and family should come those that have given their all so that we may live. There is so much we can and should do for each other but it seems we are still doing battle with those who want things to change in illogical ways. We have our politicians choosing causes to wrap their political position around. For the most part we agree on most things but we can’t look at each other and agree. To each his or her own seems to be the way of things.

Think about all the negatives we are living through and see how many of those things we actually agree with. We want our children educated properly; we want food and clean air and water. We all want work and opportunity and the chance to accomplish our dreams. Every country has its venue and has to transcend the growing pains that walk hand in hand with accomplishment. We are aware that some countries live under extreme and severe conditions. No one knows this any better than our veterans who have lived and died in some of these sad depraved places and conditions. Soldiers see it all and for the most part wish they could really make a change. We can influence but the people have to be the ones who see change through. We are undergoing some of those ourselves currently.

Recently, Covid has brought us together as well as torn us apart. We are a nation of freedom living under a constitution that some brilliant men with hindsight and foresight put together to salvage almost any situation for their people and their need for guidance and direction in future events. There are those who would toy with that which has been proven to be an honorable document built on principle and the love of God and our fellow man. Unfortunately, it is being put to the test currently by some who hate America and would love to see us fail. It saddens me and all the veterans that I know who have given their best to eradicate the worst, thus allowing the future to have the chance at the best and to prosper.

War in the world creates Veterans Administrations and those V.A.s need the support of honest men and women to carry on and show the future that what has been promised will come to pass. If you have no fear of the Russians sitting on the Ukraine border or China’s threats on a great place such as Taiwan, then you had better learn another language because that is the only way you will possibly survive. Along with our government, our Veterans Administration has been allowed to become weak and undependable. We hear all the time that our veterans are really receiving the best care possible. If you are involved and look more carefully you will see the sad state of affairs we are going through.

Our southern border is open with millions of aliens coming through with drugs, child abuse, prostitution and crime of all sorts. Many of these are criminals who have been convicted and released by our courts. At last count there were people from 150 plus different countries coming through the Texas Wall. The local law enforcement has fought day and night to stop this but they keep on coming. At the cost of our arm forces and veterans these aliens are being supported. Inflation is the highest it has ever been. Look at our grocery stores, and ours are nowhere near as bad as other states. The drugs are killing our children and we are at an educational stand still. I have been to Southeast Asia and seen the poverty, slavery implemented to build an empire; and an empire they are successfully building. In China, they have built future cities with no one living there yet. The normal Asian people are wonderful people but the governing principal is that of evils.

We need skilled craftsmen badly. They are paid at a higher scale than the men and women in suits, if you can find one to help you out. The future is in the trades. I am a father of middle income children and they work days and night to do it. They were taught respect and work ethic. They live a good family Christian life. My heart breaks at this world’s possible outcome. Test missiles are being tossed around and a race to space has begun. Also Covid was no accident. Millions have died and multi millions of hearts have been broken.

The V.A. has put security on its doors and send a very large percentage of their patients (veterans) outside for help. The VA is paying the outside doctors approximately 35-51 percent of the billing of those doctors and state,” that is the maximum and to not bill the veteran”. So what does that say to you? Well I have experienced this first hand and have been very fortunate. Some doctors, as V.A. knows, are now refusing to take veteran patients. V.A. knows this but they are pushing this as far as they can. Top of the line doctors will not be dictated to regarding their fees. I have researched this and have been told, “We are professionals and so is our staff, so we must pay them a professional wage”. Long story short, they can’t take anymore veterans at VA’s dictated rates. If you think about it you will see the rational of their situation. It’s not that they don’t want to help veterans but they are being asked to foot the bill.

VA is building lots of structures but they aren’t paying a fair wage to their doctors and they aren’t staying current with the need for new and modern equipment. If it’s a specialty procedure you need you have to be sent outside of the V.A. system. Many doctors have left the VA to work for some of our coastal hospitals. It would not be unusual for a veteran to be sent to a doctor that use to work for the VA. I don’t know who they think they’re kidding with this game that they are playing. VA is using a middle man called OPTUM, a Community Care Network at 3237 Airport Road, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54603. If you don’t have an approved prior consult they won’t authorize the payment of your bill. The good part is for the most part you don’t have to pay if it was authorized on this end. If not, you may later see the hospital or doctor’s office billing you, claiming the authorization rested with you. They could have a strong case if they relied upon previous on-going procedures. I have been a victim of this in the past myself. It took a lot to save my credit. I am working on some of this currently to help protect veterans that I have stood for, in the past.

It should be obvious that the problem rests with upper level management for going this route and allowing the V.A. system to run at only a small percentage of its capability. You have heard me in the past couple of years complaining about the VA’s partial shutdown while all other hospitals and rehab centers are running. We have one of the greatest rehab centers in New England that is mostly shutdown. The example I have given in the past is the VA gym and swimming pool which serviced many rehab sessions. They will pay you to go to the YMCA but that doesn’t work for most disabled vets especially with PTSD. All is open but VA is shutdown. They blame it on Covid. The gym and pool are in a separate section of VA with a private entrance in the rear. (No excuse). They have a plan of their own and not one to benefit the veterans. Management and the plan need to be looked at. It is for veterans they exist at what they do and the plan should be shared with veterans.

I always appreciate your input. It helps all veterans. We need audience with those who allow this to continue. To be a veteran is a proud thing. If we are disabled because of service we should wear that also with pride and dignity. Maybe it’s time for VA to take a different course. We don’t need more non-experienced advocates we need to search for the answers to the problems. Please share your experience with us. We really want to help. Communication is a two way street, let’s use it. Stay safe and God bless.


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