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Do Veterans - VA hospitals - fit the underserved category?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Derpz, Jan 12, 2014.

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  1. Derpz

    Derpz 2+ Year Member

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    It's clear some schools value volunteering with the underserved. I know many veterans that utilize the VA services can be homeless, unemployed etc... Would finding programs either at VA hospitals or working with veterans fit the "underserved population" category?
     
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  3. xffan624

    xffan624 2+ Year Member

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    The fact that they have access to health care, pretty much makes them not underserved, IMO. Which doesn't make it any less worthy of a volunteer experience.

    I'm an unemployed veteran using the VA for my health care. I'm pretty sure I'm not part of an underserved population.
     
  4. TLAD123

    TLAD123 2+ Year Member

    No - the VA system is what serves them, so they can not fit in that category by default.

    An example of underserved would be a free health clinic, where doctors, nurses, pharmacists, students, and/or community members donate their time and resources to provide health care to uninsured. Checkout a medical school near you to see if it participates in a free clinic, and see if you can volunteer to do paperwork/patient intake. As a pharmacy student, I've volunteered on the clinical side of things at my school's clinic, and have noticed non-professional students helping out at the "front desk" area, before patients are triaged.
     
  5. pyrrion89

    pyrrion89 UCSF '18 2+ Year Member

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    Many VA patients are homeless, sadly, and many have substance abuse problems or unusual ailments, like symptoms arising from Agent Orange exposure among Korean and Vietnam war vets. If you volunteer at a VA you may interact with these kinds of populations, and may have some interesting stories to tell.
     
    AquiVoy13 likes this.
  6. Lil Mick

    Lil Mick 5+ Year Member

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    I wouldn't consider it volunteering with underserved populations, as those with access to the VA have healthcare. There are other organizations that provide medical care for veterans who don't have access to the VA or are on waiting lists for their programs (you can find some if you look online). I'd recommend volunteering at a VA if you can, though. I'm still using the VA/Vet Center in my area for some of my health care not covered by my school plan, and I definitely appreciate the folks who volunteer there :)
     
  7. lobo.solo

    lobo.solo 5+ Year Member

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    Not necessarily, but I'm sure there is some overlap between veterans and historically underserved population like rural, poor, etc. In any case don't do it because it looks cool do it because you're interested in the population at some level.
     
  8. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    They may be poor, but are not lacking in terms of health care. Thus not underserved. I think you are trying to redefine underserved to cover other aspects of their lives. It's a health care term. They have ample health care access even if nothing else.
     
    lobo12 likes this.
  9. BLACKMD

    BLACKMD 2+ Year Member

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    The VA system is terribly back logged. Last time I checked someone who wanted an appt need not wait 4 months for it. The definition of under served is too many patients/not enough providers. This is the exact situation of the VA health care system and WTUs. I talked to an adcom in my state and they consider the military critically under served. Veterans and active duty alike. This is why the military is pushing for doctors. It's declined greatly since the wars have worn down. But now we are treating PTSD more than burns/amputations. Providers are still needed, just in a different capacity. Go for it OP.
     
  10. Quizlet04

    Quizlet04 5+ Year Member

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    The vets have healthcare, yes, but it is backed up. There is often a multiple month wait for basic services and the system is taxed enough that we have vets travelling an hour or more to come to this hospital. The social services are deficient for the quantity and nature of need.
     
  11. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    The adcom you talked to is not using the classic definition of underserved. I'd avoid using it when applying elsewhere. Veterans have quite good access to healthcare. They have access to high end medications, procedures and advanced imaging. There are backlogs for some things but not healthcare overall. Having a doctor who can't schedule your procedure immediately isn't underserved. If it were, every derm patient in Beverly hills would be underserved. The fact that you have a doctor and a place where you can go for care and schedule things makes you not underserved. The guy who lives in a rural setting far from healthcare or in an urban blight setting where there aren't enough doctors for him to ever see one is the person who is underserved. The person who needs dialysis or an endoscopy or an MRI but will never get one is underserved. Veterans simply don't fit this definition. they may have to wait their turn, but I've never seen a VA patient who couldn't get a million dollar workup if needed. To some, the VA model even represents what universal healthcare, where everyone is technically "served", will ultimately become (whether this is a good or bad thing is hotly debated). So not at all the classic definition and other adcoms will be very skeptical if you describe it as such.
     
  12. LabratABQ

    LabratABQ

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    Though you can apply to work at VA and then transfer to IHS, get your foot in the door first. IHS = great example of serving the underserved, if not severely underserved.
     
  13. GreenBlade

    GreenBlade

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    I think the fact that they have access to care brings VA patients out of the underserved category.
     
  14. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    I think that the veteran population served by the VA are low income (it is needs tested, except for former POWs) and worthy of your time if you are seeking to serve a population with unmet needs. The VA in under funded, understaffed and grateful for any help they can get.
     
    BLACKMD and WashUDad like this.
  15. LabratABQ

    LabratABQ

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    Earth...i think.
    Yet they take about 10000000000000000 years to process an applicant. You have to fill out about 30 boxes of paper work and then 60 more after that....
     
  16. xffan624

    xffan624 2+ Year Member

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    Not my experience, but I just got out. Seems like they've streamlined the process for outgoing service members. Less than 90 days from the time I was out, I had my first appointment at the VA clinic and I had had to cancel my first appointment as I had moved locations. I had my disability rating in about 5 months time of putting my application in.
     
  17. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    Are you referring to applying for benefits or applying as a volunteer?
    Do you think anyone should be able to walk in off the street and step into a volunteer role? The VA is very protective of vets and is going to check you for criminal background, communicable disease, and the rest. Why shouldn't they?
     
  18. GreenBlade

    GreenBlade

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    "OMG 30 boxes of paperwork?"
    Most VA forms are only a page long. I just filled out my disability packet. Two pages, a signature, and copies of my medical records. Hardly 30 boxes.
     
  19. LabratABQ

    LabratABQ

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    Earth...i think.

    as an employee. What takes them so long vs a private sector is my question.

    Was a joke...lol
     
  20. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    I hear you. I worked for the VA at one time and it took f o r e v e r to get my first paycheck and then they screwed up direct deposit and it took even longer. (Did someone really thing that there was an S in the middle of an account number). It doesn't seem as if the VA (or much of the rest of gov't ) has an incentive to be efficient.
     
  21. LabratABQ

    LabratABQ

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    Earth...i think.
    Exactly hahhahaa. I filled out about, this is no joke, about 40 forms, I have to give them rights to investigate everything and anything. Takes so so so long and still not done.
     

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