In recent years there has been a lot of talk about the VA and a great focus on the need for improving services. As a veteran, this has been of special interest to me. I'm most concerned about the care provided to any veteran who has served in combat. While I appreciate when someone thanks me for my service, I've always felt a need to step to the back of the line in honor of those who have faced the most difficult service.
Because of that, the only veteran benefit I ever used was the Montgomery Bill. I was just a year behind the GI Bill. With the Montgomery Bill, the government matched every dollar I contributed toward my education. Thankfully, I contributed enough during my service, and the government matched enough, that I was able to complete college with no debt.
Recently, I learned that I was eligible for health care through the Veteran's Administration. With all the national news about the VA medical system, I wasn't sure what to expect. Here's my experience. In Venango County, we have a VA health clinic. I applied for health care at our local VA office. Within one day of applying, the Erie VA benefits office called to say I was accepted and that I would get a call to schedule an appointment within a few weeks. That call actually come within a few days.
My appointment at the local VA clinic was within 10 days of that call. I walked into the office and was greeted immediately. As we completed the initial intake, I prepared to sit but immediately, the door opened and I was greeted by Nurse Mary. As we completed the pre-screening and EKG, she said "I'll see if the doctor is ready," and within a minute, she was ushering me into the doctor's screening room. The doctor spent nearly an hour with me. Then, he sent me for blood work. Nurse Mary ushered me to the phlebotomist who was totally prepared and suddenly the visit was over.
The Venango County VA health clinic is beautiful and this first experience with the staff there was by far the most efficient health care screening I have ever experienced! We are very fortunately to have this resource. I am thankful!!!
Often, in reference to my career and the perspective gained from my short Air Force experience, I say it's one of the best decisions I ever made. I've always been thankful for the Montgomery Bill and the help with education. Now, I am quite thankful for the benefit of quality health care.