Editor, Times-Union:
Attention, all veterans!
I am a borderline diabetic. I went to my family physician to have my blood sugar checked. Upon doing so, he didn't like what he heard when he listened to my heart. He asked me if I had any chest pain, which I had some off and on. He told me I needed to see a heart doctor immediately. I told him I had a heart doctor at the VA who already put two stents in. He said that would be to long to wait, since they were so far out with their appointments.
Since I had seen a heart doctor before I had my knee surgery, to be approved for surgery, he sent me to him, since his office at that time was in the same building. Due to a cancelation 10 minutes before I called, he took me right away. He ran three EKGs and said something was wrong with all three of them, so he said he needed a heart catharization immediately and set the appointment for the very next morning.
He told me that the Parkview Hospital Cardiac Unit worked with the VA all the time and to make sure when we checked in the next morning to tell the receptionist at the front desk that I was a vet and they needed to get in touch with the VA for approval and the billing. I assumed that they had done so, as I was called back to my room shortly afterward.
As I had two almost completely blocked arteries, I had to have two more stents put in. The doctor told me afterward that I was a "ticking time bomb" just waiting for a heart attack. It wasn't until I got the bill from the hospital that I discovered they did not notify the VA, or the receptionist tried to no avail, as we have done in the past with no return calls.
Needless to say, the VA is refusing to pay any of my bill, saying I did not follow the proper protocol. We are now in the process of an appeal.
Brad Witham
Mentone, via email