Last Saturday we had a home visit with one of the team members from the VA Caregiver Program. I will happily admit the VA Caregiver Program is the one part of the VA system we have had least amount of difficulties with. They laid everything out for us on policies and procedures. While they might have taken a while to do it, they did everything they said they would do. What I found out later was the delay was caused by lack of staff and too many cases to get through, which a constant story heard throughout the VA system. The great news is that everyone we have dealt with in this part of the VA has been professional and caring.
Saturday our nurse showed up at our home early. We welcomed her in and visited with her and answered all of her questions. The home visits are so easy, they just come in to see how you are doing and see if you need anything. We have had always had a different person do our home visit, but they have all been so nice and caring.
This time the nurse suggested Chaz could use a grabber to help him reach things. We had one at some point, but it was too short so he didn't use it. The nurse informed us that she would just order one for him and it would be mailed to the house. She even said that is "too easy."
She put the order in on Monday morning. Yesterday, yes Thursday, four days later, (which is lightning fast in VA time) Chaz gets a call from VA-OT. The lady asked him if he requested a grabber and he said yes. She then informed him that he has to "come down and prove
that he actually needs it before they will authorize it." He says,
"Well I am in a wheelchair and have a fused arm and you have that on
file in my chart right?" "Right, Mr Allen but we still need to see you to
make sure you actually need it." Chaz then says "Well, then I am confused, you have the documented proof of my injuries that I need it, and someone from the VA saw me Saturday, but you still need to see me?" She went on to tell him that if he wanted it he had to come there for it and that she wouldn't authorize it until she sees him. He said, "Well considering the grabber costs like $10 I'll just save my time and gas money and go get one at Walmart or something." He told her to have a good day and hung up.
Then came the rant, turns out this is the lady he has had to deal with a few times. I am sitting here thinking, whoa, how have I not met her? Anywho she has a history of being non-productive with Chaz. Which you of course know that means others have experienced the same.
So where do I start with this overload of ignorance coming at me from the lazy train? First this is a prime example of bureaucracy at it's finest. One VA employee puts eyes on a veteran and requests a $10 piece of equipment, but because it falls under the scope of OT, the OT people have to draw their territorial line and insist they see him too.
Here's a fine example of a VA pissing contest. It's like I can hear this lady's thoughts...well I'll be the judge of if he needs a grabber or not. Some nurse from another department isn't going to tell me what OT needs to do.
My next issue is that the VA Caregiver Program has spent more time with Chaz since January 2013 then VA-OT has. I feel that the Caregiver Program knows Chaz's needs way better than VA-OT in this situation. And for something this simple, OT does not needs eyes on him, if another VA professional has seen him.
Then you must consider that lady who saw us Saturday is a medical professional, but the lady authorizing the equipment is not, she's an administrative professional. Follow this...a medical professional puts in an order and then an admin professional questions it and wants to require the veteran to see another professional.
And my biggest problem is the lady from admin requiring Chaz to come in, just tried to take away an appointment from another veteran who actually needs to see OT for actual OT. This is the part that ticks me off the most. Chaz does not need OT to verify he needs a grabber. A nurse did, this should be the end of the story. But no, let's block out time that another veteran needs in OT so they can see Chaz's disability.....again. And wait for it.....they are all still looking at the same file!!
No matter how you look at it, it's just a big circle of are you freaking kidding me? Here's what made us laugh, in a not-so-happy way. We realized we have to go through hoops for a $10 grabber to help with Chaz's independence, but if we asked for narcotics we'd have them the next day. Roll that one around in your mind for a little bit.