By Ken Cameron

I live in Gold Beach. I am a Navy veteran and eligible for VA benefits. I have researched the VA here in Oregon and the Roseburg and Brookings facilities. There were many negative articles but no positive articles. This is just one person’s recent experience with the VA in Oregon.

This is one example. When I lived in California a year ago I caught a case of bronchitis. I seem to get it every year around Christmas time. I called my civilian doctor but he could not see me for two weeks. Since it was time for my mandatory annual checkup at the VA clinic in Murietta, California, I called for an appointment. I would have to wait seven months. So, I called civilian doctors offices in the neighborhood and they weren’t taking new patients.

I finally got over the bronchitis.

Now that I am an Oregon resident, I signed up for VA medical benefits at the Brookings clinic last summer. Two days after the paperwork was turned in I got a call from the clinic to come in for a physical. The doctor went over my California records and did a complete workup on me that lasted 90 minutes. I got a clean bill of health but he did change my blood pressure meds.

Last December, I got another dose of bronchitis while in Florida. I waited until I returned to Oregon last week see a doctor. We went through Roseburg on the way home from the Portland airport. I decided to try the VA hospital there.

I walked in to the information desk and told them of my plight. I was directed to emergency immediately. Pretty much a standard procedure for any veteran who walks in with any ailment and no appointment.

I signed in and was seen by a physician in less than 30 minutes. She spent half an hour with me and decided to order chest X-rays. Twenty minutes later, the doctor returned and told me that the X-rays showed liquid on the lungs and I indeed had bronchitis. Three prescriptions later I was on my way home. I’m feeling much better now.

My primary care doctor is now the VA physician in Brookings. I dumped the civilian doctor here because I feel I get much better care with my VA options.

President Trump ordered a beefing up of VA medical care facilities throughout the country and just maybe they got the message here in Oregon before other places. What I do know is that I receive much better care and attention at the VA facilities here in Oregon than I ever got at the civilian or veteran options in California. And maybe that is a good reason for any veteran to live here.

As I was writing this, I received a call from the VA clinic in Brookings wanting to set up a vision checkup to make sure there is nothing going on because of my marginal diabetic condition. I did not ask for it. The timing of the call was a little weird. They did a review of my records and thought the checkup would be a good idea. I think so, too.

Maybe I haven’t lived here long enough to have a bad experience with the Local VA facilities.

Maybe I never will.


Ken Cameron lives in Gold Beach.