Monday, November 2, 2015

Red Tape Increases with Veterans Admin Districts.

Or well, at least that is what I was told by the Non VA Medical Claims and Authorization Department.

"Ma'am, your husband was taken by Ambulance to a hospital that we don't have in our system for care. Because of the re-districting on January 1st, 2015 he should have gone to ....mumble mumble ... which was a 90 minute drive.

So I read to him the following:

Do I need to get approval before going to the emergency room?

No. If you are an eligible veteran, and a VA facility is not feasibly available when you believe your health or life is in immediate danger, report directly to the closest emergency room. If hospitalization is required, you, your representative or the treating facility should contact the nearest VA within 24 hours to arrange a transfer to VA care by calling the VA Transfer Center at (813) 972-7614.

And he remained stoic and explained that the Non VA Medical Claims personnel were short staffed and he himself was only seeing claims from the beginning of May.
He repeated to me that someone would have to determine whether or not his transport by ambulance was medically necessary.

I asked him to call the VA Madison number and listen to the first thing said, "Welcome to the VA, if this is a medical emergency please hang up and dial 911."

He asked if I got prior approval.  
I thought evil nasty things before I replied.

"I should tell a man who is laying naked on the floor having a stroke while I grab a phone and call for an approval?  Who are you kidding?"

I know I heard him shrug, or my mind did.
He replied the Vernon Memorial in Viroqua is not part of their district.  BUT, wait...we are in the very same state.
Nope, the state was redistricted.
I looked up the state and the district.  We are #12, the whole state, so who was he kidding?

The billing would be sent to Tomah -- even though it was addressed to Non VA Medical Claims and Authorization Department, Madison, WI.
That means that the claim was sent to Madison, who sent it to Tomah, which is not the hospital he was getting care at.
Tomah makes a determination as to whether or not it was a true emergency.

And he had no providers in Tomah.

As to the threatening letter he told me to call the Ambulance company back and tell them to be patient and that they needed to hear from the VA. They couldn't put us in collections until they heard from the fact the VA was the Federal Government and NOT and insurance company.  It was like the IRS.

He was a bit smug, but I wrote that down and told it to the Ambulance company.

So the horrid red tape continues. 
Nearest hospital ... must mean nearest secret hospital that only the VA and the secret hospital knows of.

So I forge on, building a larger file and keeping names and dates.
Thank goodness I've done this sort of thing before.


  1. Wish we lived closer. I need your mad bookkeeping skills!!

    Another appointment today. I don't know what for. Will keep you posted.

  2. Hope you do. It is a full time job just keeping track of things.
    The VA bills to the nearest facility that they 'think' you should be going to regardless as to whether you are a patient their or not.
    However the VA can access records from any VA hospital, but tends to have a terrible record when out sourcing their work.
    How was the appointment?