Over the last two weeks, I've had multiple appointments at the Roseburg Veterans Administration Medical Center.

As always, I experienced superb medical care, competence, and caring.

I know that the Veterans Administration medical system has not always been great. I started doing rotations at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Indianapolis in 1970, in my second year of medical school; the hospital was terribly under-resourced, and despite dedicated physicians and nurses, care was--at best--at community-standard level, which was not very good.

Medicine has improved remarkably in the 50-plus years since then, and the Veterans Administration has been ahead of the pack in improving patient care and safety. It shows.

I won't mention departments or individuals' names, but today, as always, I was treated with respect and compassion, treated efficiently and effectively, and I always trusted that my health and safety were paramount. (Sidebar note: patient safety and health were primary considerations in the downsizing of Roseburg VAMC; you can't treat ICU and ER patients properly when patient numbers and acuity are low. It's a matter of training and experience. The decision was in the best interest of us all. I commanded a U.S. Army hospital in Belgium that made the same decision in the mid-1990s.)

Some years ago, Phillip Longman published Best Care Anywhere: Why VA Health Care Is Better Than Yours. There have been challenges to the Veterans Administration since that time, particularly with regard to appointments and insufficient funding. But it is still true that veterans objectively get the best medical care available from any medical care organization in the country.

I saw it today. Kudos to the wonderful folks at the Roseburg Veterans Administration Medical Center.

Joseph Yetter

Azalea

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(7) comments

Mike

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs website (below link), Roseburg VA has reported 28 Covid deaths from 898 Covid cases, which means over 3.1% of Roseburg VA cases resulted in death. This is significantly higher than Douglas County, where 2.1% of all Covid cases resulted in death.

15,644 veterans are fully vaccinated, which is 32% of the 49,572 total residents fully vaccinated in Douglas County today.

https://www.accesstocare.va.gov/Healthcare/COVID19NationalSummary

CitizenJoe

Mike, my guess is that the apparently increased case-fatality rate among veterans is likely age and sex related; that veterans at our facility skew a bit older and male than the rest of the cases in the community. Both are risk factors for death. There are other confounders, too. It would be interesting to know the population-adjusted case fatality rate at the VA vs the surrounding community. I'd bet that the apparent difference diminishes or disappears.

Man, these numbers are slippery. I thought there were fewer total veterans in Douglas than the total number vaccinated (12,200 total, vs the 15,644 vaccinated); and it would be unsurprising if there were more than the 28 deaths that the VA knows of.

stash1947

I have to agree. Got home in '67 and avoided any contact with any gov. agency for the many years. My father-in-law kept telling me I needed to deal with the aftermath of the war including agent orange exposure. Finally after decades I humbled myself and paid the Roseburg VA a visit with the help of the County veterans service. It completely turned my life around. Is anything in this world 100% perfect? The Roseburg VA altered my life for good and I am grateful. I didn't think anyone cared.

CitizenJoe

stash1947: The Douglas County Veterans Services office has been superb. I've not interacted with them for over ten years, but other veterans I know have had a great experience. Contact info:

"April 17, 2020-We are still doing Veterans Claims by email, phone, fax, Postal Mail. The reason for this is that some staff of the Veterans Service Office are "at-risk." To protect them and all of us, we are maintaining precautions. The Good News is that we have added appointments-by-phone.

Current Ways to Contact Us

Phone: 541-440-4219

Email the Veterans Service Office

Fax: 541-440-6166

Mailing Address:

1036 SE Douglas Avenue, Room 7/8

Roseburg, OR 97470 "

You can google the website. I'll include it below, to avoid erasure of this comment.

CitizenJoe

Veterans Services website:

https://douglascounty-oregon.us/408/Veterans-Services

bunka12

100% agree about VA care. I was discharged in 1970 after 10 very good years as an AF weatherman. I had some service-connected disability but wasn't aware that I was eligible for care from the VA. I got involved with UACT theater shortly after moving to Roseburg, about 20 years ago. One of my castmates was a VA Dr at the Roseburg facility. He and I got to talking about our experiences, I told him I was 20% disabled (service-connected). He told me that that would make me eligible for care at the VA. I had had a heart attack in 1995 and was treated in Everett, WA, where I received a stent and went on my merry way, after destroying my last carton of cigarettes (If you smoke, QUIT, if you don't, NEVER START). I had an event in 2005 and it was determined that I needed a 4-way by-pass, I was sent to Portland by ambulance and the head of Cardiology at the OHSH performed the operation...100% covered by the VA... They then, in 2015, decided that I needed a pace-maker, it was installed here at the local VA. In 1995, after my heart attack, I was fairly certain I wouldn't see the turn of the century, here we are in 2021 and I'm approaching 80 years of age and feel I owe it mostly to the Roseburg VA

CitizenJoe

bunka: I'm glad that you had such a good result. One of the problems with the VA is that it often has not had the capacity to treat everyone eligible, and that eligibility determinations have sometimes not seemed just. These are funding and administrative challenges that have deprived some veterans of the kinds of benefits that they really deserve and have earned. There is progress on both of these fronts, but it's not enough, not yet.

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