In short, no. When I first got home in early 2004, the system hadn't seen many or any invisible wounds of war yet - it was too early into the conflict. Because the VA wasn't overwhelmed, my claims process was only two months long. I was assessed with a rating in short order. As more and more veterans have returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the VA quickly became overwhelmed. Seven years later, I get to see a doctor every four months, if I am lucky. Here's the catch: So many people blame the VA for not caring. I don't think that this could be further from the truth. I know that all of the doctors and social workers that I have talked with are incredibly frustrated by the lack of staffing and funding the VA is getting to contend with this ever-growing issue. Granted, no system is perfect. The biggest issue I have is with the bureaucratic oversight. Just like every other government agency, there are a ton of superfluous jobs. It's incredibly difficult to fire someone from a Federal job, so people in unnecessary 'fluff' positions keep their jobs while the VA continues to be run into the ground. I think that government agencies should be run like businesses. Cost savings and improved efficiency in operations would equate to more jobs where they are needed and less waste. It's time to separate the wheat from the chaff or all of the veterans returning home are going to lose their trust for the government and country they swore to uphold and protect. What message is being sent to the youth in our country when they witness the general apathy that veterans get treated with upon returning home?
OK, I've said my piece. Down off the soap box and back to talking about other issues...
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.