Watertown Daily Times | VA system thwarts patient from eye exam


Recently, I received a letter from the Syracuse Veterans Affairs hospital urging me to call the Watertown VA eye clinic for an appointment. I did, only to find the clinic is closed until April. This is a problem because the optometrist wanted to check my cataracts.


Then another notice scheduling lab work arrived. I had that done, waited three weeks, then called about a doctor’s appointment. The nurse told me the clinic only had one physician and he was treating emergency cases only. This means my lab tests will be outdated and another visit with Vampria, my favorite blood letter.


After each misfire, I called the number of my Veteran’s Choice card, which at least in theory, allows a veteran to see a local doctor at the VA’s expense if he or she lives more than 40 miles from a VA facility. The first lady was pleasant but couldn’t offer much help about seeing a local optometrist.


When I told the second gentleman the VA clinic had no doctors available and asked if I could see a local one, since I lived 85 miles from the nearest VA hospital, he replied “No.” I asked why, and he replied that “There’s a VA Center in Watertown.” I explained the Veteran’s Center was not a medical facility, and he answered, “Doesn’t make any difference; it’s a Veteran’s Center.”


Due to my advanced years, the VA hospital in Delaware and the Carthage VA clinic saw me every four months. Now seven months after my appointment, I would like to see a doctor to check my medications, go over the lab results and discuss some minor (I hope) problems. But no appointment is in sight.


The real problem is the VA’s putting the local clinic up for auction every few years and accepting the lowest bid regardless of the company’s ability to provide quality care. It’s all about money with little concern for veterans’ health.


Thousands of readers like you have made Northern New York Newspapers the number one ranked website* for local news and sports coverage in the north country.


Curated from Watertown Daily Times | VA system thwarts patient from eye exam