On June 28, 2016, Steve Cooper went to the Gilbert VA (a satellite of the Phoenix VA) to try to get referrals to see private sector doctors (he is a 100% service connected disabled Veteran battling stage 4 prostate cancer) under the VA Choice Act. Steve contacted Congressman Salmon’s office they sent a letter to the Phoenix VA director asking about this situation and according to Congressman Salmon’s office, her response was, “This is terrible……clearly not the kind of service/dialogue our team should be providing”.
Audio Clip 1
1:30-2:30 – Nurse tells Steve how the phone system doesn’t work. She even says that 2 years ago she as an employee couldn’t call in to the Gilbert VA.
3:00-3:15 – Nurse complains that only Veterans can park in the parking garage.
3:45 – Nurse determines Steve’s heart rate is high (no manual retest that he recalls) after she walked into the wall.
4:00-4:30 – Nurse says she is having eye surgery Friday, then shows Steve that her eye works better when she physically opens it up.
4:30-5:00 – Most hurtful and shocking, nurse says the doc cancelled Steve’s appointment yesterday and says that Steve is a “victim” of cancelled appointments. This is extremely painful because Steve’s cancer spread because of delays and cancelled appointments at the Phoenix VA.
12:30 – Nurse says she got an elderly Veteran an appointment right away which is “unheard of”.
14:14 – Nurse makes up a date for Steve’s last HIV test.
14:30 – Nurse encourages Steve to remain overweight.
Audio Clip 2
About 10 minutes about seeing the nurse, she returns into the exam room with two others, a doctor and another nurse, where they bombard Steve and try to tell Steve the “policy” won’t permit for referrals.
0:15-0:36 – They tell Steve that they will only approve referrals if they can’t see him within 30 days. They think the VA Choice Act is only available if you can’t be seen in 30 days.
1:40 – Doctor complains that Steve has “15 different referrals”.
3:00 – Nurse complains the Doctor only has 30 minutes for Steve’s referrals.
4:15 – Steve is told he can contact his Congressman.
4:30 – Doctor states he doesn’t know the VA system and how to do VA Choice Act referrals.
6:00-7:00 – Doctor states he doesn’t know how to do referrals and that he is too busy to do them at this time.
7:06 – Doctor states he is so lost as to what to do.
7:45 – Doctor states the referrals will take a few hours.
8:00 – Doctor states that the VA is not the best system.
10:30 – Doctor states “there is a first for everything” referring to doing referrals.
11:00 – Doctor now states 10 days to process Steve’s referrals.
11:30 – Doctor states he is not a fan of the VA.
Audio Clip 3
Continuation of meeting with Doctor for referrals.
0:48-4:30 – Doctor asks me what to write for the referral.
4:55 – Doctor asks to listen to my heart and lungs but can’t find his stethoscope so doesn’t listen and then states that he will enter “key exam findings were negative” and then enters as such.
6:30 – Doctor had all of Steve’s medical records from Ironwood sitting on the top of a computer hutch, unsecured, not in any patient folder.
10:00 – Doctor states he doesn’t know how to navigate the VA system.