My late husband was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2000. In 2003, it was determined to have been caused by Agent Orange, to which he was exposed in Vietnam. After a two-year wait of appeals, he was declared 100 percent disabled in 2005.
From that time, he was served by the local VA hospital. We only had exposure to the outpatient care, but never in the next seven years did we have to wait for care like at a regular doctors office. We picked up his meds there always within an hour.
He had several surgeries for skin cancer, which went well and with no infections. He saw local specialists at the VA whom he would have seen at their offices.
When he suffered a heart attack, he was immediately sent to St. Joe, where he sadly died five days later. He could not have received better care. I requested an itemized bill, which the VA was able to settle for 7 percent of the original cost.
If the care had been in-house, the VA would have lost money. It makes no sense to maintain in-patient care at the VA when it can be done cheaper and better at a regular facility. With more open space, the outpatient care could be enlarged without the expense of building another building.
NANCY PARKER Fort Wayne