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Old 12-03-2016, 09:16   #16
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Re: Veterans/VA Med ... liveaboard in transit

I'm not a VET but I think its shameful for Vets to struggle this way with health care. I hope you are able to get to a satisfactory end on this.


In our area, you could elect for indoor heated storage, mast down. The facilities here have toilets & showers; lights and electricity. I have often thought it would be an OK place to spend a winter. No taxes, mortgage etc. It might be worth a look if the facility allows.
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Old 12-03-2016, 09:16   #17
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Re: Veterans/VA Med ... liveaboard in transit

I met several disabled vets in the Sea of Cortez who went home to San Diego once or twice a year, and got medical care and giant 6 month prescriptions for medicine, including powerful opiods. It made me almost wish I had been drafted, but alas I was born November 1, 1952, and thus received the 1970 Draft lottery number of 366 ( 1952 being a leap year). I have had three mostly unsuccessful back surgeries in my life and live in chronic pain. It is terrible now getting pain medication in the states for non vets. And Mexico is harder than the U.S to get pain medication and their drugs are worse. They pretty restrict you to morphine patches, and you cannot regulate your dosage to the level of pain on any particular day. The one bright spot is in Mexico they will give you a three month supply and don't care if you smoke pot to try and get some sleep, whereas in California I am drug tested every month to make sure I don't smoke marijuana and get a months supply. Good luck
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Old 12-03-2016, 09:21   #18
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Re: Veterans/VA Med ... liveaboard in transit

N. FL. has extensive but spread out VA. WEATHER THERE IS BETTER THAN SC. You will have to reregister under FL VA rules and go through their orientation process. Once you are assigned to a primary Dr and nurse you will get better service. Get a UPS P.O. Box as your 'permanent' address. Be sure they will forward your mail to wherever you find yourself in your sojourn up and down the Fl peninsula, etc.
assuming you have a car or can rent one when needed or moor near a city such as St Augustine with public transportation to get you to your nearest VA clinic they have shuttle service to transport you to the full service hospitals in the VA network, ala Jacksonville and Gainesville. You may spend the entire day getting there and back, but who cares after all you are retired.
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Old 12-03-2016, 09:24   #19
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Re: Veterans/VA Med ... liveaboard in transit

I am also a Non-Service connected disabled vet and am 73. I lived on my sailboat for years and even sailed to Australia with almost no money. Just praued a lot that I did not need any expensive repairs. I found a private dock in Florida that was not in uise and asked the home owner if he would rent it to me. The answer was yes and the cost was little. Returned to US due to ill health and sold boat. I miss it dearly and wish you the best. You apparently have a computer and I urge you to register with myhealthevet. Any VA facility can help with this and it will help you with any care or meds needed while on you boat. Go South and enjoy yourself without the cold weather.
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Old 12-03-2016, 09:35   #20
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Re: Veterans/VA Med ... liveaboard in transit

I am under VA Heath Care and cruise extensively. I feel your pain and understand it. There is no way around the bureaucracy at this time. You are required to register at each clinic, BEFORE you can receive care. It's a hassle. You can go to the VA Hospital anywhere for service, treatment or meds, but you will need to go to the emergency room and wait times can and are anywhere from 4 to 10 hours unless you show up at 3 in the morning. For sending meds, you will need a permanent address, maybe a friend or relative, and then give the pharmacy a temporary address anywhere to send them so you can pick them up. I have not tried to use a post office box as a temporary, to send meds, but it might be worth a try. I would suggest getting on your boat and moving to someplace warm that you can afford. Make it as near a local clinic as possible and maybe even near a VA Hospital. Many clinics will arrange transportation to a hospital if you don't have it. We do this yearly to take care of treatments, examinations, etc. In the last two years, I have had to reregister at 4 different clinics. to get needed health care from the VA. It means sitting in one spot for a period of time. If you are of age to receive Medicare, register for both part A and B and use Medicare for you primary health needs and the VA for simple things like tests, examinations, simple treatments and medication. The system is seriously flawed and broken. Often I must enlist the aid of Senator Bill Nelson here in Florida to get even simple treatment in a timely manner. Good luck. Chuck
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Old 12-03-2016, 09:39   #21
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Re: Veterans/VA Med ... liveaboard in transit

BTW. Orlando is opening a brand new VA outpatient hospital. The idea to look into Medicare is an alternative. However don't all the add on Parts I.e Parts B & D have monthly premiums? Under VA your copay should (!!!???!!!!) be smaller. Do some research and compare. And post your findings because as you can see there are quite a few sailing/cruising Vets in the group. Maybe there should be a subgroup created for such folks.?
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Old 12-03-2016, 09:46   #22
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Re: Veterans/VA Med ... liveaboard in transit

I have been very happy with the way the VA has treated me. I would repeat some of the details in previous posts. Having an established primary care doctor makes things much easier. On the other hand walk ins at a busy clinic/hospital will mean long waits and a doctor who is not up to speed on your medical records. One problem with Medicare is that not all doctors will accept it and you may wind up waiting a long time only to be told to go elsewhere.

Bottom line is there is no substitute for having an established relationship with your primary care doctor. I tend to cruise South in the winter and stay in my condo in the summer where I have AC and avoid hurricanes. I also have a primary care doctor there who is more than willing to work with me to ease issues when I am gone cruising for 7+ months in cruising season.

One thing I have noticed is many snowbirds come to Florida in the winter and try and access VA facilities as walk ins and wonder why they have to wait longer than folks like me who have their records in the facility and a primary care doctor. Often they have a bad attitude, maybe in part because of the long waits.

Whatever you wind up doing keep in mind you can get more flies with honey than vinegar.
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Old 12-03-2016, 09:53   #23
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Re: Veterans/VA Med ... liveaboard in transit

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N. FL. has extensive but spread out VA. WEATHER THERE IS BETTER THAN SC. You will have to reregister under FL VA rules and go through their orientation process. Once you are assigned to a primary Dr and nurse you will get better service. Get a UPS P.O. Box as your 'permanent' address. Be sure they will forward your mail to wherever you find yourself in your sojourn up and down the Fl peninsula, etc.
assuming you have a car or can rent one when needed or moor near a city such as St Augustine with public transportation to get you to your nearest VA clinic they have shuttle service to transport you to the full service hospitals in the VA network, ala Jacksonville and Gainesville. You may spend the entire day getting there and back, but who cares after all you are retired.
Need to check VA policy as they will not send my meds to a PO box and they need to be signed for by an adult. You need to fine a local address for meds to be sent to you. For a small fee some marinas will except your mail for you if you explain your situation. Contact local Am Legion, Amvets, DAV, VFW as they might be able to provide transportation.
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Old 12-03-2016, 09:57   #24
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Re: Veterans/VA Med ... liveaboard in transit

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Originally Posted by teveau169 View Post
BTW. Orlando is opening a brand new VA outpatient hospital. The idea to look into Medicare is an alternative. However don't all the add on Parts I.e Parts B & D have monthly premiums? Under VA your copay should (!!!???!!!!) be smaller. Do some research and compare. And post your findings because as you can see there are quite a few sailing/cruising Vets in the group. Maybe there should be a subgroup created for such folks.?
Yes you pay for part B & D. No needs for part D using the VA for us. Part B will be around $100.00 per month out of your Social Security check. For me it saved me tens of thousands of dollars after a recent heart attack, so in my case, it's well worth the extra expense. If you need major medical and are away from a VA hospital, clinics don't treat serious situations, the VA may very well not cover it or pay anything and it will be totally out of your own pocket. After my second heart attack, the VA refused payment because I did not get THEIR prior approval to have a heart attack. No joke. $150,000.00 later, I thank goodness for Medicare. Up until the day I was flat on my back in an emergency room just a few minutes from my expiration date, I had no signs or symptoms and had been under VA care for years. They never at any time indicated I might have a heart issue. Yet they still refused to pay. This is what we deal with every day with the VA system If they were a private organization, they would have been shut down long ago. Each INDIVIDUAL needs to make those decisions on their own. VA copay is based on your annual income and can be nothing at all to a fee for each visit and a fee for medications and services. It isn't the same for everyone. The OP will need to do his own research on how all of these affect his net at the end of the month. Chuck
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Old 12-03-2016, 10:08   #25
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Re: Veterans/VA Med ... liveaboard in transit

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Need to check VA policy as they will not send my meds to a PO box and they need to be signed for by an adult. You need to fine a local address for meds to be sent to you. For a small fee some marinas will except your mail for you if you explain your situation. Contact local Am Legion, Amvets, DAV, VFW as they might be able to provide transportation.
Our home base has been northern Florida for the last 3 years and that is where we are now. I receive medications multiple times during the course of a month. I have NEVER been required to sign for them either here in Florida or anywhere else along the eastern seaboard. Just received some a few days ago. Perhaps it is the type of medication you receive. While I have not tried a PO box as a temporary address. Our mail forwarding service in Sarasota is a PO Box address and the VA often sends my medication there. That is my primary address. And here in lies the problem. The care and system is so inconsistent that you never know what your experience will be.
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Old 12-03-2016, 10:17   #26
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Re: Veterans/VA Med ... liveaboard in transit

I am a US Navy vet who gets my care through the VA as well. Only 59 so no Medicare yet. If you want to stick with the VA you can do so, but I would enroll in Medicare Part B as well. VA and Medicare do not supplement each other so you covered with whatever happens, wherever. As far as portability, you can transfer your file to any VA center, no matter what your address is. I know, because i have done so. If they give you a hard time, get the persons name and phone number, and call your Congressman. My personal experience is that VA medical care by the medical people is usually excellent (and many studies have born this out). The problem with the VA is the admin side. You have to kick them in the ass and get their attention sometimes. Keep in mind that transferring a file can take several months, even though it is an electronic transfer. Go figure. That is just the admin crap I was talking about. Heck, I got a new cellphone number over a year ago, and it took 9 months to get the VA pbx to recognize the exchange. I actually had to go directly to the head of IT for the region for crying out loud to get it fixed.
As far as SC vs. NC, and affordability, I recommend NC without hesitation. I live in Sc but keep my boat in NC. SC marinas are VERY expensive for the most part. Little River, SC (near Myrtle Beach) is a little cheaper, but Charleston marinas are way expensive. Ditto Beaufort. There is a VA hospital there in Charleston. In NC, I would look at Washington, New Bern, or Oriental. You can slips with water and electric at all of them for $150, sometimes less. Good sailing, Washington area being the best. Cost of living is low. There is a VA medical center (not a hospital, outpatient only) in Greenville, NC which is 30 minutes from Washington. My boat is in the boatyard in Washington now (its much cheaper there) and I plan on moving it to New Bern in a few months. New Bern has a great boating community, is inexpensive, and has a vibrant downtown with lots of arts and activities available. There is not a VA clinic there, but there is one in Jacksonville and Morehead City, NC. The closest VA hospital would be in Fayetteville about 2 hours away. Sailing on the Neuse River (New Bern) is not as good as the Pamlico (Washington) IMO, and Oriental is the worst of the lot. Well its ok if the weather is good, but eastern NC gets a lot of easterlies and you have open fetch of 50 miles from Manteo and it can get quite rough on the sound when they are blowing.
Hope this helps. Good luck. Let me know if you head down there adn we will hoist a beer together.
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Old 12-03-2016, 10:36   #27
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Re: Veterans/VA Med ... liveaboard in transit

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Originally Posted by SURV69 View Post
I'm retired. get my SS, a small state pension and VA supplementary pension(non-service disability) ... I've been somewhat disabled since being about 13 years old ... Air Force said I never should've gotten in and got a 35-4 in 1971.

In the winter, I live in a mobile home, with freezing pipes, no refrigerator/freezer and high heating bills ... I muddle through, since it's only temporary(5-6 months), before launch time(Ohio), but in my older years, I hate winter, it's demoralizing to me and my physical & mental health suffers.

The cost of living in this trailer with the bills and everything included takes up almost all my sum of pensions ... hard to save money. Monetarily, I'm on the edge

On the boat, in summer, I have a much physical & mental better life and can save a substantial sum of money monthly. I feel re-invigorated and more financially fit. I have a fridge/freezer and feel secure in my cucoon(Bristol 29).

I want to liveaboard full-time. My medical care is VA., but VA medical clinics have given me a hard time(really, really hard time), for showing up at a clinic that was not my primary care ... they even gave me a hard time for showing for a procedure(scheduled by the Cleveland VA, to that clinic).

I'm a war-time veteran, and my care is financially based, for no co-pays($1071).

During the winter, I live like the pauper I'm supposed to be and have almost no excess money after bills and all ...During the summer, when I'm on my sailboat, I'm no longer live like a pauper ... I have some excess money.

When I ask a VA patient rep about VA care, the first impression I get, is that I'm doing something almost wrong or immoral ... almost like I have an obligation(or something), to live like the pauper I'm supposed to be.

I'd like to hear from veterans about how they resolve(or resolved), problems with VA care while transiting from one place to another on a nearly daily basis. I assume that if I find a nice marina in South Carolina(a little bit of winter doesn't bother me), and STAY PUT ... it's no problem, and I might stay put ... but I might not ... I hope to like a turtle, slowly going from place to place with my shell on my back.

I'm 66 and this "sojourn", is a part of my un-written bucket list ... something I've wanted to do for years ... I really want to do it and I want my medical care to kinda follow me not feel "guilty" about having too much fun.
Getting SS a small state pension and something from the VA. My question would be what are you doing with the money? If living with not enough money on land living aboard is probably out of the question. JMHO
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Old 12-03-2016, 12:43   #28
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Re: Veterans/VA Med ... liveaboard in transit

Hey Serve69. I am a disabled Vet. and I'd like to share some thoughts that help me keep sane:

When you signed to serve in the AF, you were willing to give all up to and including your life. You wrote them a blank check to do with you as they saw fit. Now it's time they make some pay back. You earned it.

I try to look at dealing with the VA and SSA as a game. I hit the ball they hit back. They raise the stakes, make the game hard, I hit back. Eventually I get what I need or something close to it. Then I feel great. Sometimes they win- they're simply following the law. I may have not checked a box or dotted an i. Appeal.

Get some help, like was suggested from the DAV.

The VA and the SSA both unwittingly subscribe to the three D philosophy: Delay, Deny, Die.

Bill McLean
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Old 12-03-2016, 13:18   #29
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Re: not to be long-winded....

Fatherchronica:

I have been told by the VA that I can never get more than
90 days supply of most meds and only 30 days of rat poison ...
I have a hunch it's all talk and varies considering the
circumstance ... but the VA won't "say" that.



Jackheape:

you're right about the adminstrative staff. Aside
from one nurse, my problems have always been admin staff.

Ohio has a great plan and since my total income is
under poverty, they'll pay part "B", plus supplemental ...

This way, I won't have to worry about if the the deduction
from my pension would be 100% or just 5% of the costs.

I would tend to stay in the VA, but the medicare would
reduce the VA's deny, deny, deny attitude's effect on
my medical costs ... at least they would be a backup.

It was also no fun fighting them to get my
gall-bladder(3 year fight with lots ,,, and lots of gall-bladder attacks)
... it literally exploded during the laproscopic procedure(took almost 6
hours to clean up the bits and pieces).

I also had a heart attack about 6 months after they took
me off all my heart medicines, over my objection(Isosorbide,
Clopidagrel & metoprolo tartrate), I'm back on all of them plus
rat poison now. In a way, they caused my Heart Attack, then refused payment ...


Cadence:
Not really. The trailer I'm living in
costs about $600 a month(all associated bills)
... acutally, with frozen(broken pipes the last month+),
I still pay the monthly bill, but must buy water too.

In a marina, in Ohio for 6 months I pay $1600,
with water & electric included( ... about $270
per month ... a difference of $300+ per month.
There are many, considerably cheaper marinas too.


All other costs are rather static.

Away from the trailer, I have no bills, other
than cell phone, boat insurance(cheap), and
car insurance(cheap)

alcodiersel:

I never considered the DAV, since ... although I "re"
fractured my back(fell off the top of the inlined ladder),
in the AF, my claim was not successful. So ... am I a
disabled American vet? I always thought no.

I appreciate all this information, but spring is here, my heart appears to be doing much better and I want to do something that will become more unlikely, more unrealistic, each year that passes.
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Old 12-03-2016, 13:47   #30
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Re: Veterans/VA Med ... liveaboard in transit

I only know about the Charleston SC area. The city marina would charge you $480 a month (I just looked up their seasonal/annual rates). There is also a $2100 liveaboard fee. That includes all your hookups, wifi, etc. The Charleston VA hospital is directly across the street if you can walk 100 yards. There are mooring balls everywhere. I don't know what those cost. Plenty of places to drop the hook and 'boondock' it. The VA also has a program now where if you are more than 40 miles from a facility you can get a card that allows you to get treatment where you are. I am quite happy with the treatment I get from this place but it's like any other government organization except the DMV which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the devil. If someone isn't doing what you think is right, just politely excuse yourself and find the office of their boss. The hospital here has Veterans assistance on site. It is also a teaching hospital in conjunction with the Medical University of South Carolina. There isn't much in the way of treatable problems they can't deal with. It may not be instantaneously, I took my sister to the ER late one evening and we had to wait two hours for the oncologist who was on call from MUSC to come, but they opened up the eye clinic, diagnosed and brought her medications back to her in the ER with a follow up appt already made. I myself had a retinal tear during a PVD which required the same thing. I showed up on Sat, was diagnosed and had a followup appt on Monday to get the retina welded back in place. If you are unable to help yourself with research, ask for help from the DAV or any of the other support organizations that are available. Like any other government entity, knowledge is the key. Yelling and name calling will just get security called. The problem with living in any trailer is you can't put sails on them. Don't live your last days surviving when there are options to spend your time doing something you love and keeps you happy and healthier. Thats my 1951 wheat penny's worth which I discovered is worth fifteen cents.
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