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Reasons & Remarks Redivivus


Richard Hoover
Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News June 2016

A Pat on the Back

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When discussing the positives and negatives of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) it’s easy to hit on the bad things, especially since we tend to remember them and to forget the good.

For example, we’ll remember the VA employee who couldn’t make an appointment for us when we wanted it, but we forget the one who stayed longer to do a tooth cleaning when he or she could have gone home because it was past time to stop for the day. 

This month, I’m giving the VA a pat on the back and a thank you for creating a great new program that can make our lives a lot easier if we just take advantage of it. It’s a computer program, which was developed to make our lives easier. It’s www.myhealth.va.gov (MHV).

The most complicated part of participating in MHV is getting signed in for the program. You normally have to do that at a VA facility such as a hospital, a clinic or a location where a VA employee who is qualified can help you enroll in the program. 

 You have to enter personal information (which the VA already has) and then have whoever is assisting you tell you how to enter your identification and password. Each one of these has specific parameters as to its length, capitalization, unique characters, etc. That’s why it’s important to have someone qualified to initially enroll you.

You’ll also have to enter two questions that only you’ll know the answers to, so that in the event you forget either your password or identification, you can access the system and reset either one.  

Once you’ve finished the initial sign-up, which takes about 10 minutes, you’ll be enrolled in a great program that permits you to do things from any computer, including look at lab results, order pharmacy refills, engage in secure messaging with a VA employee, get X-ray copies for your local physician, and peruse a mass of other information not only from the VA but from the Department of Defense.

For veterans living in rural areas, MHV is particularly good. It enables you to talk to your health provider about problems you’re having, which would be difficult to accomplish in almost any other way. As a rural veteran myself, I’ve found MHV particularly valuable.  

It has enabled the VA Spinal Cord Injury Center (SCI) where I get my annual checkups and dental exam to have the dental center send me the X-rays so my local dentist can finish the dental work started at the VA. This capability saves me money and also makes sure my local dentist has the VA dentist’s notes, so he knows specifically what that dentist was doing.

I could go on at great length to discuss what MHV’s capabilities are, but the best thing for you to do is go to your local facility and register. As I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t take long, and you’ll find it valuable in many ways.  After accomplishing that, you can get on your home computer and explore the many different parts of what MHV offers you.  

For more information on the many benefits and how to sign up for www.myhealth.va.gov, read this month’s Veteran Advisor article, My HealtheVet.

I started this editorial talking about the positives and negatives we experience and hear about the VA. I’ll finish it on another note.

I’ve written about what I believe are the good things VA Secretary Robert McDonald is doing, but don’t believe he has enough time to finish the job. I still stand by that belief. With the top position in the VA being a political appointment, whoever is the next president of the United States will pick a VA secretary.

The new president would be wise if he or she stayed with someone who is doing a good job and give that person time to finish it. Then the dead weight we have at the top levels might actually decide it’s time to leave because the inspectors might actually get around to them.  

We could do better with a lot of dead weight gone. Then we might actually get a leaner and more efficient VA. 

 

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