For those who are not tracking, Chaz had an abscess next to his spine. We discovered the problems Sunday and sought medical attention on Monday. He is doing better thanks to my instance and reactions to what was going on with him.
The question that keeps being asked is "Why didn't you take Chaz to the VA for medical attention?" I am going to take the time to spell this all out for those who are confused. Also I want to help those who will separate from the service and need to know this information. But let me make this clear, DO NOT LET YOUR TRICARE LAPSE!!!! Make sure you enroll your service member in Tricare with you and your family. Make sure you have all the paperwork in and have your premiums paid up. I cannot stress this enough. Tricare has been our saving grace.
We tried to go to the VA. We called the Murfreesboro, TN VA first thing Monday morning. They could not see Chaz until Tuesday at 3pm at the earliest. Chaz needed to be seen pronto. I knew in my gut Chaz needed immediate attention. I was not going to make him wait any longer. Chaz had a ticking time bomb in his back, waiting was not a possibility. You might be thinking ER, but I knew he'd get better attention by seeing our Primary Care Manager and I was right.
We are all four enrolled in Tricare. Thanks to Tricare I was able to get Chaz seen
immediately. Then he was able to have an MRI immediately and admitted
into the hospital immediately. We discovered later that had we gone to the VA. Chaz would
have been transferred from the Murfreesboro VA to the Nashville VA and then to a private
hospital, more than likely Vanderbilt. Basically taking him to the VA for what was going on was not the right answer. He needed care, not shuffled around then care.
Chaz is currently classified as a Category 6 to the VA. He retired from the Army on January 19, 2013. The letter from the VA dated March 11, 2013 and signed by Tony Guagliardo, the Director of Health Eligibility Center, Chaz is still listed in the lowest category they have. This means he is eligible to receive services from the VA, but we are expected to pay out of pocket. Here's the letter front and back.
So you're thinking wait, he's 100% service-connected disabled. Yes we have some paperwork here that says that. Until that paperwork goes to Seattle WA for verification, then to Nashville for processing Chaz will remain in Category 6. As you can see we are approaching 60 days. There are some service members who have waited a year for the verification process. (More about this later).
Now we have co-pays with Tricare. Even if Chaz stays in the hospital for 90 days we are still coming out cheaper with using our Tricare option. Tricare charges us $11 each day that Chaz stays in the hospital. The VA charges $1184 for the first 90 days. that $13 a day for Chaz to be there because he is still in Category 6. Is this all making sense now?
We didn't go the VA because it was in the best interest of Chaz's health to go through Tricare. We pay for it, so we're going to use it. We didn't go to the VA because they couldn't see him that day and I am actually thankful they couldn't. Going through Tricare was the best thing to do for Chaz. It is better for Chaz's health and our household budget. Tricare not only helped Chaz receive excellent care, but the cost share expected of us put Chaz's mind at ease. So let me pose this question why should we go to the VA for anything besides preventive care?!