There are 17 million Veterans in the U.S. and more than 9 million are enrolled and eligible to receive health care from the Veteran Administration’s medical centers and outpatient clinics.
Despite these staggering numbers, many Veterans aren’t aware they qualify for health care through the VA, and may not know the benefits it offers, many of which exceed the level of service available in civilian health care.
A 2018 RAND study found that VA hospitals performed on average the same as or significantly better than non-VA hospitals on 21 out of 24 measures used. But perhaps the biggest difference is the way in which necessary care is considered and approved.
“It may seem simple, but it’s not,” says Dr. Hasan Dosluoglu, a vascular surgeon and the chief of surgery at the VA Western New York Healthcare System. “The philosophy of the VA is that Veterans should have the best care, irrespective of the cost.”
“I am focused on doing the right thing, that’s what we do at the VA. Sometimes that creates a savings for the VA. Sometimes that provides a life changing benefit to the patient, which may not present a cost savings.”
Dr. Dosluoglu, who has worked with the VA WNY Healthcare System since 2001, is at the forefront of his field, writing and coediting over a hundred research papers. He explains that in the civil sector, doctors must seek insurance approvals to perform surgery or provide services beyond standard preventative visits. Additionally, civilian hospitals make decisions about the way in which certain surgeries are performed based on the dollars insurance companies are willing to reimburse.
He tells the story of a homeless Veteran on whom he performed a sophisticated surgery, using a technique that likely wouldn’t have been approved in a traditional hospital due to extra expense and the patient’s financial means.
“If I had taken a short cut for the sake of cost savings, the quality of this man’s life would have been seriously jeopardized. The difference with the VA is that the quality of care given isn’t reliant upon an insurance company approval or rate of reimbursement, and it is not weighed against the patient’s financial ability or role in society,” said Dosluoglu.
“It doesn’t matter who is in charge or which department of the facility you’re in. If a Veteran is here at the VA Western New York Healthcare System, they are getting the best care the VA has to offer.”
The VA Western New York Healthcare System is located at 3495 Bailey Ave. near Main St. in Buffalo. Veterans can also expect free parking and efficient patient check-in.
To learn if you’re eligible or to make an appointment visit va.gov/western-new-york-health-care or call 716-862-8829.