I have told those who are close to me that one of the best decisions I made in my life was to join the military. Since I served in the United States Army and received an honorable discharge; I am eligible to be classified as a Veteran, hence the use of the VHA. This blog is the reason for one of those best decisions.
The Veterans Health Administration is a health care system of just over 150 Medical Centers in addition to clinics and centers throughout the United States, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The healthcare facilities are divided into numbered districts from one to twenty-two as depicted in its website< http://www.va.gov/.>
VHA practices preventative health care. A recent mammogram prompted a call from my healthcare provider to me. I needed a second mammogram. I was petrified. In a previous blog http://www.blogher.com/denying-death, I wrote about denying death. Now, I was beginning to fear death from a dreadful disease called breast cancer when a diagnosis did not exist…yet.
But wait a minute, although the second mammo was not a stat (Stat, from statim is a medical term meaning "immediately" (from Latin), my fear and anxiety dictated I have the second immediately. I began to think about my friend Doris who lost her battle to breast cancer just a few months ago. I began to imagine many scenarios in my mind. I sobbed...well just for a few. The anxiety was overwhelming. I knew waiting a week for the second time around was just not good enough for me. I made a phone call.
This compelling story: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/hospital-mistake-leaves-single-mom-6-months-live-article-1.1233989 is the very reason I must invest in my well being. You see readers, if you chose to go this link and read the article; you saw that Black women have a higher rate of death with breast cancer http://www.diversityinc.rsvp3.com/diversity-and-inclusion/black-women-have-41-higher-risk-of-dying-of-breast-cancer/?utm_source=Genius&utm_campaign=newsletterLuke&utm_medium=DI&utm_content=2013-01-16.
To keep you from reading more than you have to, I will give you the ending. I was able to get the second mammo and ultrasound the very same day. Much sooner than the week that seemed so very far away. My provider had said to me earlier, “they think it’s benign.” For me, think is not good enough. I wanted them to know. The healthcare providers accommodated me not because of urgency but compassionate enough to accommodate me simply because they recognized my fear. Every one of them gave me the healthcare I needed, from what they did to what they said to me.
And…while doing so displayed what the VA strives for...providing exceptional healthcare.
I have always received exceptional healthcare from the VA. However, this time around was the best care anywhere as penned by Phillip Longman http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2005/0501.longman.html.
Phillip Longman says: “the VHA can act like one. It can systematically attack patient safety issues. It can systematically manage information using standard platforms and interfaces. It can systematically develop and implement evidence-based standards of care. It can systematically discover where its care needs improvement and take corrective measures. In short, it can do what the rest of the health-care sector can't seem to…”
The mammogram result was a victory. As a result of this health scare, 2013 will not only be about my fiscal fidelity http://www.blogher.com/fiscal-fidelity-0, I will also be investing my health in the best care anywhere.
More from health