I am a 100% disabled veteran. I recently read an opinion/complaint letter to the editor about our local VA Clinic, about the check-in procedures in place during the pandemic. Please be aware the VA procedure is no different than our hospitals, emergency rooms and urgent care facilities.

Those procedures are in place to protect the patients and staff alike. Many utilizing the VA services are indeed over 65 years, which puts them most at risk to COVID exposure. The procedures are in place for them, and everyone in need of care. Personnaly, I have received excellent service and care at our local VA clinic and from the VA in general. The front office staff, the technicians, nurses, doctors and custodians have always treated me with the utmost respect, assisting me in every way.

I have never been turned away, even without an appointment, The clinic provides "walk in" no appointment services during specified hours. If a qualified veteran has an immediate urgent need at any time, they can go to an urgent care clinic or even an emergency room, inform the facility they are a VA patient, and they will process all billing through the VA. If a qualified veteran needs to consult with a medical specialist not readily available at our local clinic, the clinic staff will utilize the VA Community Care program to obtain an appointment with an appropriate private medical practitioner, with all billing to the VA.

When I had such a need, it was addressed within a week by a private office general surgeon, at no cost to me. Afterwards, a VA worker called me directly, to ensure everything went well. Kudos for all those fine folks at our VA clinic for all they do for both old and young veterans in Brookings.

Steven Plaxco

Brookings

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