A few years back, via a normal physical, I discovered that I have Hepatitis C.
According to the VA, 25% of all Vietnam veterans have Hepatitis C.
The VA now believes that most contracted it from the air gun shots we use to get.
Anyways, a vet friend of mine brought to my attention that he too has Hepatitis C and was being treated by the VA, even though his Hepatitis C (like mine) is not confirmed to be service related.
I looked into my treatment options. One option was going to a private sector Doctor. The problem with this is that even with my health insurance, the cost would have been $500.00 + per month (The treatment runs $60K for the year at full cost).
Another option was the VA. I must admit that getting past the front desk bureaucracy can be quite challenging, but once you get past the brain dead, it becomes quite simple and I was impressed with what I found out.
The VA hospitals today are staffed by very competent Doctors and Nurses. My Hepatitis C Doctor is also the Chief of Gastroenterology at UC Davis Medical Center and is said to be one of the top ten in the world. When you have a 10:00 AM appointment, you see the at 10:00 AM, not 11:30 as in the private sector. These folks listen to what I have to say and are very respectful of who I am……A VET.
My Hepatitis C treatment at the VA is the same as in the private sector but is costing me $7/month seven dollars per month), not $500.
I now go to the VA for “ALL” of my medical needs which thankfully are few, but I do see I do see them for my allergies and they operated on a hernia I had last summer (cost me $51.00). Your medical issue does not have to be service related to receive treatments….. All you need is your DD214.
Obviously, if your ailment is service related, treatment is free, otherwise the price is based on your income (no income, no cost) and is quite minimal.
I need to tell you that if you have nor been tested for Hepatitis C, do it now, I had no symptoms that warranted testing so don’t let that fool you. Again, according to the VA, 25% of us have it.
Thanks for your time,