Vet’s wife worried he will die before he sees a VA doctor

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The price of long appointment wait times at the VA is personal for Linda Faine.

“Costing me my husband, that's a price I don’t think I should have to pay, it’s not fair,” said Faine.

Her husband Rickey has been waiting 9 months for an appointment to see his primary care doctor at the Hampton VA.

The last visit was back in August.

“He said to see me again in three months and that he would send out a reminder, but I haven't heard anything since,” said Faine.

It was all part of the treatment plan the doctor came up with to deal with his many health issues including fibromyalgia, skin cancer, and his frequent bouts of bronchitis.

When one of those bronchitis episodes turned into pneumonia, Linda took Rickey to the closest ER she could find.

“The man couldn't breathe,” said Faine. “He's been my partner for 41 years, and I don’t want to lose him, especially for something that can be prevented.”

The couple tried yet again to get an appointment at the Hampton VA.

That was in the middle of May, but he won't be seen until June 30th.

“It makes you wonder, do we have a secret list here?” said Faine.

After hearing all the horror stories about veterans in Phoenix who died waiting for an appointment, Linda is worried her husband might be next.

“It scares me every day, every day, because I don’t know if I’m going to wake up to him not breathing,” said Faine.

Even though the VA is speeding up appointments after the scandal, their “Accelerating Access to Care” initiative is only targeting new veterans in the system.

Not those patients like Rickey, who have been around for years, and are still waiting.

“He did his duty, and now it’s time for the head of the VA to do his, step up and take care of these men,” said Faine.


  • DinkWink

    But you can keep your current doctor. This is what you get when you let the government take care of you.

  • Willam Fisher

    He saw the VA doctor in August. According to Rickey, he was suppose to get a reminder notice in the mail in 3 months which would have been November. When he did not receive a reminder notice by November, how come he did not call the VA in November? He waited until mid May to call them and was given an appointment for the end of June. In other words, he did not have to wait 9 months to get an appointment once he called. He should have called six months earlier in November. When was the last time that Rickey had medical insurance? Since he went to the nearest emergency room for his pneumonia, how does he intend to pay the hospital for treating him? Does his wife have medical insurance or does she just use the emergency room? What kind of income does this couple have? There are a lot of unanswered questions. I served 20 years in the military and have Tricare Prime coverage for myself and my wife of 43 years. It is not free, however. I have to pay a premium for it. How many years did Rickey serve in the military? Are any of his current medical problems service related? How many years has Rickey been receiving care from the VA? Has he ever had to pay the VA for any of their treatment? The VA does not appear to be the problem in this case. I wish Rickey well and suggest that he put a sticky note on his refrigerator to remember to call the VA for appointments in the future.

    • ravens533

      All good points. The one point that I really agree with is why neither he nor his wife made a call to the VA in November. Or for that matter any time after that. It is also unclear as to when during this time he went to the ER. My guess is not until late April or early May. It was his responsibility to make the appointment. The VA only failed in not sending out the reminder that the appointment was needed. Here in the private sector when I make an appointment to see a new doctor I find that a 6 week wait time in not unusual. I think that they just want their 15 minutes of fame after not being responsible about their health care for over 7 months.

  • Timothy C. Whitehurst

    Honestly, there is no scandal the VA has been having problems procedural and administratively for decades. Congress has renege on its obligations and promises to the veterans by cutting funding for the VA while the demand has increase. It is not just this current Administration. Congress needs to resolve these problems and Do there Patriotic duty instead of there political gains. As a veteran with service related conditions I shy away from the VA because sometimes I feel up to the bureaucracy and sometimes I don’t. At times I am partially to blame for my problems for not keeping up with my schedule appointments.

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