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Hassle-free experience was an unrealistic expectation

In the article regarding the Veterans Affairs medical center (“In effort to fix woes in VA care, Moulton taps own experience”), it is easy to make it sound like gross incompetence by the VA staff, when, in fact, Representative Seth Moulton was presenting them with an almost impossible service expectation.

Let's put what he did in non-VA terms. He is outside of his home state, and shows up at a random, but somehow in-network, clinic. He presents, not with an emergency, but as a walk-in for a routine surgical evaluation (hernia), without his insurance cards or records. His records are at a far-away hospital, and while he is insistent that he has insurance, the local clinic is unable to easily verify this.

Try this as a walk-in at any prestigious medical center, and you'll be lucky to get seen within a few hours, not to mention forms for privacy, release of records, patient registration, etc., and calls to your insurer and, ultimately, probably a fax of your records from the other institution.


Let's not put blame on a situation at which no medical facility could succeed.

Dr. Henry J. Feldman, Needham

The writer is a hospitalist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and also provides part-time care at the VA Medical Center in West Roxbury. His views here are his own.