When you talk to other Veterans, are you surprised to learn they don’t get their health care through VA? You may hear the same reasons again and again – they already have private health insurance, they didn’t experience combat, or they aren’t the type of Veteran VA usually treats. This two-part article helps you dispel myths like these.

By sharing this information with your fellow Veterans, you can help them understand VA health care and encourage them to access the care they deserve.

MYTH: I’m not the typical VA patient.

FACT: Veterans from all walks of life receive primary and specialty care from VA.

No matter who you are or what your medical needs may be, VA is prepared to care for all eligible Veterans. VA offers programs and services for a wide range of Veterans, including women Veterans, minority Veterans, Veterans with mental health conditions, LGBTQ+ Veterans, and elderly or disabled Veterans.

The care provided ranges from state-of-the-art prosthetics to routine primary care and everything in between. VA provides care to support wellness, illness and injuries, mental health and trauma-related needs, substance use problems, women’s health needs and so much more.

Learn more about the services provided under the VA health care program and how to apply for health care.

MYTH: Women won’t be able to get the care they need through VA.

FACT: VA provides a wide range of care to women Veterans.

Based upon feedback from women Veterans, VA has enhanced its offered services. As more women Veterans utilize VA health care, the offerings will continue to grow. VA offers primary care, mental health assistance, gynecological care, military sexual trauma (MST) counseling and reproductive health care.

If a service isn’t offered at your local facility, VA may cover services at another location. Contact your local facility to find out what services are available locally.

MYTH: Only combat Veterans are eligible for VA health care.

FACT: Combat is not a requirement to qualify for VA health care.

You may be eligible for VA health care benefits if you served in the military and didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge. Some Veterans may even qualify for an enhanced eligibility status, which increases the likelihood of getting benefits. Learn more about those requirements here. Even if you are not eligible for VA health care benefits, you can still get care for certain needs. Those needs include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, substance abuse, or mental and physical health problems related to MST.

Learn about your eligibility

As a Veteran who receives care from an outstanding team in VA, I encourage you to get the comprehensive care you need. Visit www.choose.va.gov/health to learn more about eligibility and apply today. If you are already enrolled, please help us do some myth-busting and encourage other Veterans to apply.

By Garth Miller is an Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran and executive director of Member Services for the Veterans Health Administration

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Published on Mar. 18, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.4 min.

Views to date: 2,314

45 Comments

  1. Patricia Kelly-Banks March 31, 2022 at 8:54 pm

    It’s important to keep records in one place for VA to organize and prioritize every Veteran’s experience.
    I’d had to piece my husband’s history together, and private offices do not keep a good documentation.
    If he were having a better access back then to care, it could’ve prevented worse problems and death.

  2. Warren Chaney March 29, 2022 at 11:55 am

    I’ve always found VA health care to be exceptional. Any problems encountered (and they are minor) are encountered in the private sector (usually more so). VA personnel are consistently friendly, helpful, and respectful. Wait times, once a problem, greatly diminished over the past 5 years.

  3. Rex Conger March 29, 2022 at 8:55 am

    I’m a Vet with 30 years (enlisted 4yrs during Vietnam -served there as a Corpsman with the Marines – 2 Purple Hearts) Out for 12 Yrs – Masters degree – Navy Reserve offered Commission – back in for 26 Years – 20 on the Green side 6 on the Blue side. Some of the best care I ever received in my life was Navy Medicine.
    Now Retired from Civilian world and Military world I have used the VA in Columbia, SC. Great Care and Services – Audiology – Disability Re-Evaluation. Care access during Covid -Questionable, Parking- awful

  4. lynn adams March 28, 2022 at 9:52 pm

    I have received the best of health care at Wikes-Barre VAMC, Wikes-Barre, Pa. In fact I am alive because of their overwatch of my health. When it was discovered I had bladder cancer I was sent to an outside urologist who subsequently operated on me at his hospital. All because my VA center referred him to me. I am cancer free 4 years now, and get all my diabetic care, meds, and labs at WBVAMC, the doctors and staff are excellant. I’m sorry some vets do not get the care I get and have received at their home state VA’s. Navy Vietnam vet, agent orange.

  5. Anton liebl March 28, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    I have been attending VA Health care for over 25 years. I have seen many changes all for the better of Veterans. My primary health care provider for the last decade has been the VA health care system in Connecticut and I can say they have been top notch all they from my aortic valve surgery through my lung cancer they have listen to me and guide me through it all. I feel so blessed to have them in my corner for so many years.

  6. William A Hemmelgarn March 28, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    I’ve had nothing but good service from the Birmingham VA Hospital. Have been there on various occasions that were emergency-related and they were very thorough and quick. Had my second Heart Bypass surgery there and am thrilled with the expertise of the Doctors and the care of the nurses.

  7. richard clinch March 28, 2022 at 8:37 am

    The Syracuse NY Veterans Hospital…

    Has been 100% SUPERB for me.
    Always their care has impressed me.
    Lab work, Audiology, Vision, Primary Care and the Emergency Room, everyplace.
    Even the parking lot guards are friendly and helpful.

    (It does take over a month for OutSide Chiropractic Care… every single time that is Approved but delayed due to administrative burocracy, crossing the ‘I’s and dotting the ‘t’s’. That is excessive. )

    Our Syracuse NY Veterans Hospital is HIGHLY RECOMMEND by a Veteran.

  8. Thomas Currie March 27, 2022 at 5:05 pm

    Well, I get most of my health care from the VA, and usually the care is pretty decent (although almost always slow), but occasionally I just have to scratch my head in wonder….

    I just got a letter from Veteran’s Affairs that was prepared, printed, and mailed by a computer, to tell me that another computer was going to schedule me for a totally useless and unnecessary C&P Exam, then a third computer would call me to tell me when the useless C&P Exam would be. The whole point of the letter apparently was to caution me to be sure to answer whichever of several Caller IDs the computer might use because the computer that will call to tell me about the appointment is too stupid to leave a message.

    And, yes, the exam is totally useless because it is for a condition that was diagnosed by my VA primary care physician years ago, which I have been on daily medication for the past four years, and which would only be determined by a blood test — but which can’t be determined by a blood test while I am on the medication for it.

    And, oh by the way, the condition is presumptively linked to Agent Orange exposure which is already documented.

    So, if any human with an IQ above room temperature had reviewed the case, there would be no reason for a C&P Exam, but the computer processing the form automatically wants to have the other computer schedule an exam, just because…

  9. David March 27, 2022 at 2:03 pm

    Hello, Garth, your key word here is “ELIGIBLE”, I’m a veteran and the VA says im not eligible so I get kicked to the curb by the VA and this is not the first time this has happened. When I first went in the military one thing I have always remembered is that I was told that if you need the VA it will always be there for you.. Every Veteran should have access to the VA if they need it. I have talked to other Veterans who say the same thing. The VA personnel I have been in contact with do very little to help you. Im not trying to be overly negative here and the Veterans that are in the system I’m sure they are getting there medical needs taken care of in the best possible way.

  10. James Madden March 25, 2022 at 10:56 pm

    I am a Veteran living in the Philippines. I need medical care as I have been treated here for a Urinary Tract Infection that still persists. I am asking for clarification as I am hoping to go to Hawaii soon for care at the VA hospital in Oahu where my brother lives. Will I be able to get medical care there at the VA hospital?

  11. Billy March 25, 2022 at 5:33 pm

    The Sioux falls VA is a Joke. I have been getting care here for the last 6 years. My health continues to decline. The management is all about saving costs and time. If you need a Physical or maintenance drugs your likely fine. If you have an issue that is slightly out of the norm good luck getting anyone to help. The primary care department wont listen and constantly makes mistakes. Many of the Dr’s here are new or end of career. If you have the option stick with private care. It might cost you more but they will at least listen to your concerns and try treatments. The VA likes to say well that isn’t FDA approved usage or out of the scope of their practice. I have had multiple veins collapsed. Forced to take a cheap generic that is likely to cause an adverse reaction just like the other similar one did to verify it with personal suffering. Then there is Care in the community they don’t answer the phone during normal business hours as the announcement says, or you have to wait for hours being caller 4 in line. They fail to pay bills and the provider sends a collections request threatening to file on you. If you have appointments its now your responsibility to take your records over, get an appointment set up, have them cancel and remake the same thing over. There is a reason the Rounds office is investigating them and the processes used for the care of veterans.

  12. Joe March 25, 2022 at 4:59 pm

    It is an absolute nightmare dealing with the VA to recieve Healthcare outside the VA facility under the mission care act. It took them 2 yrs to send me to a Dr. knowing I had chronic pain throughout my entire body. Found out after an MRI I need back surgery and 6 months of wearing a back brace. It is not a myth that the VA is failing veterans and purposefully not following the mission act the way it was written. The VA is a fraud and I hope someday congress privatizes VA healthcare so veterans that need healthcare never ever have to deal with the VA again to recieve healthcare.

  13. Betina Jessen March 25, 2022 at 4:37 pm

    You reference MST but don’t spell it out it’s Military Sexual Trauma, and it happens every 1.8 minutes to a man or a woman serving in our Armed Forces.

    Betina

  14. maybell wirth March 25, 2022 at 3:50 pm

    i am a female veteran of 20+ years service and have been treated off an on by the VA and am very disappointed in the treatment. it is hard to get appointments and the last time I had an appointment it was rescheduled to a telecon with a clerk. except for blood pressure check and annual blood and urine work I am unable to get anything else from them. almost every appointment scheduled gets canceled by them or i have to talk to a clerk. if i met my dr in the hall at the VA i wouldn’t know who he or she is, this has been going on prior to COVID. also they change my dr and location of clinic every year – moving me further away from home making it difficult to get to appointments. now that i am Medicare age i can’t even get in to see a dr at the base near me and it takes 3-6 months to see a civilian dr. it appears the individuals in this comments stream who have the best experience for the most part are men. the females not so much. and as far mst for females my age – if we didn’t complain about it on active duty it never happened, even though we were told if we reported it we would be kicked out of the service. so how do we “prove” it? most of the superiors that we told were older than us and are now dead if we knew where they were.

  15. Joe Moravec March 25, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    As a Vietnam vet, I am very satisfied with VA healthcare, better than private care, in my experience. The Dental clinic and Eye clinic are also very good ( I’ve hade two lens implants). It helps that I’m only 15 minutes away; I can see a real problem if I were hours away.

  16. Gerald March 25, 2022 at 11:43 am

    Dealing with the VA or trying to get proper medical attention is a waste of time. I can’t even get signed into the VA site to correspond with them or get information. Trying to sign in is impossible with their verification BS! The folks they hire do nothing but screw things up. During my last contact with them 20 years ago a hearing test consisted of taking off my clothes and walking around the room. Still can’t get tested or hearing aids!! It’s time to do away with VA hospitals and allow veterans the use of civilian medical facilities.

  17. David Poling March 25, 2022 at 11:42 am

    I remain pleased with VA medical care. I am at 100% service connected. My only complaint would be with the Detroit center admin people, but understand, not all. For the most part the admin people seem really put out that they have to put up with us veterans just to have a job. Quality of work and pride in doing a good job is missing. Nurses and NPs are super as are most doctors. Cudoes to the Dental Dept.;
    Physical therapy, not so much.

  18. George Posmoga March 25, 2022 at 9:19 am

    I have been receiving VA health care for over 20 years. I am a disabled Vietnam Veteran. Va Health Care has progressively improved over the 20 years. I appreciate the fact that the VA is available for Veterans. I am thankfull for all the excellent care I have received from primary and specialty doctors and departments. Communication methods and medication procedures are state of art. Receiving Emails from the VA on policy updates have greatly improved knowledge of procedures. There are a lot of services available in the VA that are granted through your primary care Doctor. Thank You VA

  19. Milton Wiseman March 24, 2022 at 10:53 pm

    My treatment has been good. My PCM is a great doctor and I feel she cares, my team staff is really good as well.
    On the other hand, the dental is outrageous, they cancel appointments without notice, do a checkup find a cavities and schedule appointments 6 months out, then cancel them. I have lost 6 teeth because of constant delays and appointment cancelation. They did have a bridge made, it didn’t fit from day one and their adjustments were a joke. If the VA wants to improve veterans health, hire real dentist who take pride in their craft and fire those who fail to do their jobs. I’m fortunate enough to have dental insurance which I pay for, along with the co-pays but the care is from a dentist who cares and corrects issues before the result in tooth loss.
    This is my biggest issue with the VA in Columbia SC. There are other issues, here but those issues are a result of under-staffing and yes, there is a medical school attached too. I have never had to deal with any medical students in my care. Medical care at DORN VA in Columbia SC is great, dental care, well let’s just say, go to grandma for dental care because at least she cares.

  20. EJ March 24, 2022 at 10:22 pm

    Would love to use VA for healthcare as soon as they drop the mask mandate which aggravates my VA diagnosed claustrophobia. Patient rights and medical freedom dont exist with the va.

  21. ALFRED A. CROSS March 24, 2022 at 7:58 pm

    I am a Cold War Vet who has serval issues that the VA is treating me for. One thing the VA does for me is handle my prescriptions with a magnifying glass. I was assigned a doctor who I have biweekly or monthly appointments with to adjust my meds as needed and as guided by VA blood tests. This one service is great since I take 8 different medications and three more VA prescribed Vitamins/Supplements. It can be a complicated balancing act keeping all these meds in balance. I truly apricate the VA’s efforts on my behalf.

  22. John Plaza March 24, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    I retired in 2008 and always hearing the negative stories on VA care in the news received my health care from civilian providers. However, whenever I talked to an individual about their care they could only rave about the excellent care. I wasn’t thrilled with the civilian health care system so I decided to give the VA a shot and I am so glad I did. I have never received better care. I almost feel guilty for how much attention they give me.

  23. William March 24, 2022 at 6:54 pm

    Annual Income did not make me ineligible to serve my country in the Army but it makes me ineligible to receive VA benefits. VA benefits are not for all veterans.

  24. Peter March 24, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    I agree with the fact that the VA healthcare is terrible at best. Haven’t had a doctor in more than a year. Pharmacy doesn’t get it right half the time. They recruit the bottom of the barrel for employees. Everything is run by committees of overpaid beaurocrats that can’t be fired. Lastly, go ahead and complain because no one listens anyway.

    • Billy Showers March 28, 2022 at 6:20 pm

      You damn sure got that right

  25. Daniel Kibbee March 24, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    Well I’ve been affiliated with VA healthcare for over 40 yrs now. I have experienced a couple of instances that may have gone little as not planned but overall I’ve received excellent care , help and benefits.
    FYI VHA is rated largest and best healthcare in the USA .. I would suggest to those of you who are disgruntled to move your care to another VA VISN and see if that helps.
    Just had a THA at Palo Alto CA VA . Top Grade service. Excellent Surgeon and Staff. Post Op was great. I feel good and I am thankful for VA services available to all U.S. Service men and women.

    • Billy Showers March 28, 2022 at 6:22 pm

      Well good for you

  26. R March 24, 2022 at 5:45 pm

    I’m experiencing everything wrong with the VA Healthcare system. Since I’ve got it together, I understand how that drives my brothers to tragedy. Congressional action isn’t due for two years while we loose 72 a day. I can’t understand us not being a sufficient political base to effect change.

  27. Charles E Erickson March 24, 2022 at 5:39 pm

    What is the time period from registering to getting admitted to the VA

  28. Cindy March 23, 2022 at 9:04 pm

    I don’t know about all of you, but I am a female Marine getting care from the VA since 1996. I have the best care ever, especially after care as an enlisted. My PCP reminds me of all the tests I need and when, treats me with respect and explains everything to me. I have PTSD from MST and all kinds of health problems that the VA has treated right away. They treated both my cancers, and when I became homeless because the second cancer didn’t let me work, they found me a place to live and recover, and then helped me to get a job. The VA Boston must be the place to be

  29. Joe DeMatteo March 20, 2022 at 9:16 am

    VA say let us care for your medical needs Sounds great but it’s all the things you have to do to get your needs It’s really hard to get out side care if they out side source it And if you live 2 or 3 hours away from a VA hospital it’s a nite mare I think there is to much us veterans have to go through We keep giving money to fix it but it doesn’t VA needs to fix itself

  30. James Ashley March 20, 2022 at 12:32 am

    Blind, some neurologic conditions, and Hospice services do not require certain eligibility requirements.

  31. Glenn Timpe March 19, 2022 at 6:33 pm

    The VA in Ann Arbor MI is a training facility for UofM. They engage in unnecessary procedures, abuse and neglect Veterans.

    It’s on of the worst VA facilities out there, if you complain, they use Thier mental health clinics to threaten you and engage in falsify your medical records.

    I have voice recorded conversations of MD refusing emergency medical attention needed and making threats of denying medical services.

    I have personally suffered medical malpractice at the hands of UofM medical students, unsupervised by MD.

    Walk into the Ann Arbor VA, you’ll see all UofM Coates and students playing Doctor unsupervised, making horrible mistakes covered up. They call the Ann Arbor VA “The chop shop” I have the audio recordings upon request.

    It’s well known throughout the VA system of medical malpractice cover ups.

    Trying to sue them is a 3 year faithless trip. Which few attorneys will take on.

    Stay away from the VA, only desperate veterans use them. Last resort.

    Semper Fidelis

  32. Melody LoneWolf March 19, 2022 at 5:36 pm

    ” Hello ” My Name Is ” Melody LoneWolf ” I am Married To A Lovely And Loving Veteran of “21 Year’s ” of Service And We Been Married for 8 Year’s His Name is”Dakota LoneWolf”! And He Has Told Me a lot about the VA Healthcare and VA BENEFITS and to get what I am eligible for after He Passes……..will my Loving husband who I deerly Love with all my Loving Heart Has Just Passes away…….

  33. JOSHUA TURNER March 19, 2022 at 3:58 pm

    Sure we’re all eligible but waiting to get care and the level of care is atrocious not to mention everyone working at the VA seem like they hate their job and their attitudes are pitiful. The VA is the worst health care system in the country. It’s just way less frustrating to suffer in silence.

  34. Valerie J Watson March 19, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    I would never encourage women to go through the VA for their female health care. The care I’m basically being denied for breast nipple inversion has been ongoing for 9 yrs now. And when I asked for a gyn appointment I was grudgingly provided one with what serves as my facility’s gyn services, I was treated as if I were stupid for thinking I should have a pelvic exam as part of the process, got shrugs and no answers to the few questions I did ask. They made me feel stupid for even being there and I quickly realized I was not going to get any answers to any of the questions I had about concerning changes. I STILL don’t know why a woman my age isn’t in need of pelvic exams anymore. Because female cancers are in my family I am very worried about what the lack of care may mean for me if I can’t get routine exams, or have questions about my aging and changing body answered as part of my gyn care. I am encouraging my children to file wrongful death suits if I wind up with female related cancers as an effort to bring to light just how ridiculous your message is to those who are absolutely being denied essential routine services. There is a definite gender bias when it comes to ortho, pain clinic, and physical therapy as well. If I could afforld to purchase other insurance, I would not use the VA, but their choosing to classify me as 100% service connected took away my employment and the benefits I was struggling so hard to provide for myself.

  35. Joseph March 19, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    You reference MST but don’t spell it out it’s Military Sexual Trauma, and it happens every 1.8 minutes to a man or a woman serving in our Armed Forces.

  36. Timothy Jemison March 19, 2022 at 1:12 pm

    I get my health care through the VA, but I hear a lot of veterans complain about they don’t get the kind of care they need or are misdiagnosed. I know it all starts with having a good primary care doctor. There are a lot of doctors working for the VA who are just collecting a pay check and don’t really care about the veterans. The mental health department is very challenging it takes to long to get an appointment and they feel that if you don’t want medication then you don’t want help.

  37. Dan Baker March 19, 2022 at 11:06 am

    The Army wrecked my hearing in basic training. I have asked the VA for hearing aids. Nothing more, just hearing aids. I’m told, because I have been careful with my money, that I can afford to buy hearing aids, case closed. The VA is certainly not there for me!

  38. Rich velte March 19, 2022 at 11:04 am

    I do use the VA Healthcare as well as private. The VA often drops the ball on community care referrals which are needed because to be seen by the VA takes 3 to 9 months. I’ve had multiple appointments canceled on me and I wasn’t notified and appointments made that I didn’t need or didn’t ask for. The telehealth care is great, but you have to do your own bp and be on top of all your ailments. Certainly, use VA Healthcare for anything in your VA Claim to keep your data current.

  39. James Volstad March 19, 2022 at 10:41 am

    Tricare is much faster for me. My VA PCP sees me once a year (maybe), just to see if I’m still alive. I am a retired soldier, disabled veteran, and a VA Volunteer working directly with our hospitalized veterans.

    PS: Our hospital nurses are the greatest!

  40. Thomas Piddington March 19, 2022 at 8:41 am

    I do wish the Myhealthy vet site was more reliable. I’m told by the help desk I need to download a different search engine just for the VA’s Myhealthy vet. Why???? We don’t have to do this with our banking apps and even then there is no guarantee this will work.

  41. Holt Louque March 19, 2022 at 6:37 am

    All bullsht!

  42. Richard Baker March 19, 2022 at 4:12 am

    Please get back in touch with me ASAP

  43. Bob March 18, 2022 at 8:45 pm

    I’m not sure who lied to you. Trying to get anything accomplished at the VA is virtually impossible. I’d rather have all of my teeth polled again.

Comments are closed.

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