Hi, my name is Barbara King, and my husband, Donald was a veteran. He was diagnosed in 2018, and we lost him in 2020. The two-year battle with GBM was all inside of the VA hospital, and I learned all about the VA. Here are some bullet points of what I learned:
- You have the right to a second opinion and the VA WILL PAY THE BILL.
We went to another oncologist at another hospital. NOTE: Oncologists do not always know about every type of cancer. Most Oncologists have a specialty. The Oncologist at the VA specialized in pancreatic cancer, so we requested a second opinion from a GBM specialist.
- Not all care has to be conducted inside the VA hospital. They will refer to other institutions and the VA WILL PAY THE BILL.
The VA here does not provide radiation, so we were sent to another local hospital. I learned the process of getting the VA to pay an outside source. We also were going to get the VA to pay for a clinical trial at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas. We were also going to have MD Anderson ship the clinical trial meds to our local hospital instead of us having to travel.
- The VA will tell you that you cannot be seen by other doctors outside of the VA and that is simply not true.
I had to apply to get Don on our state Medicaid system in order to help pay for some things that the VA would not authorize, and our state Medicaid requires a primary care doctor to be assigned. There is no VA doctor that is also a Medicaid assigned doctor, so we had two primary care doctors that worked very well with each other.
- The VA will provide services even if the vet is not 100% disabled.
There is a huge difference between being 100% disabled, which my husband was from the date of diagnosis of the GBM, but he was not 100% disabled “SERVICE-CONNECTED” with the VA. The only service that a non 100% vet cannot receive is dental benefits.
- The VA will pay for in home care when approved.
We received 16 hours a week at first and then it increased as he got worse.
- The VA will provide a free alert necklace or bracelet upon request.
I got Don a bracelet that stated, “Brain Cancer Patient” May become disoriented. Please call wife at…..
- The VA has access to ALL medical records, tests results, ability to order medications all online.
There is a way to enroll into the premium account to access all of this.
- The VA provided all medical equipment and supplies that we needed for free.
We ordered Ensure shakes when Don was going through chemo and radiation and didn’t want to eat. They also provided a scooter, a hospital bed and a bedside commode. They also came out to our house and put in handrails in the bathroom and up and down the stairs. They also provided a specialty light with magnifying glass and an extra-large clock that he could see. His vision went bad after the tumor. They also provided him with a Blind foldable cane for him to use primarily in public so that people would get out of his way. Diapers and bed pads when that time came.
- The VA helped in getting a handicap parking decal.
- The VA provided all therapies, including OT, PT and Speech therapies.
- The VA will provide a free burial plot in a Veteran’s cemetery, and I am not sure exactly what they will provide for the funeral. The VA will pay for some funeral expenses in a non VA cemetery, and the VA will pay more if the vet passes in a VA hospital.
Even if a vet is not registered within the VA system, I can assist with getting that going.