The Case of The Missing Tooth

missingtooth

“The VA is funded with millions of dollars and billions of dollars but you will not pay providers? How is it the veteran’s fault that you are such an incompetent part of the United States government?” – Fred Rendon

A lost tooth: Veteran having problems

By EMMA PEREZ-TREVIÑO Staff Writer | Posted 11 hours ago

HARLINGEN – Veteran Fred Rendon Jr. found himself in quite a bind yesterday. He lost a tooth. It fell.

Replacing it has turned into quite an ordeal, however.

“I lost a tooth today and went to see my dentist and they cannot help me because the VA Fee Basis will not pay,” Rendon told the Star. “They have not been paid in several months for any veteran,” Rendon, 66, added.

The Harlingen-based VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System, which covers 20 counties, has not responded to a request for comment. Rendon emailed the system’s Director Robert M. Walton with his concern. Walton emailed Rendon back, asking him for the name of the dentist so he could follow-up on Rendon’s concern.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Fee Basis Unit processes payment to non-VA providers who have been issued formal authorizations by the medical center to deliver care. When services are determined necessary, a VA provider will initiate a consult, requesting approval to send the patient to a non-VA provider. If that request for a non-VA authorization is approved, the Fee Basis office will process payment to the provider after the services are provided.

Rendon, who is an active advocate for veterans, was not a happy camper.

“The VA is funded with millions of dollars and billions of dollars but you will not pay providers? How is it the veteran’s fault that you are such an incompetent part of the United States government? Who is spending the money which is allocated for health care? Please help me so that I do not lose this tooth forever. I am not the only one,” Rendon told the Star.

Rendon described the tooth as “one of those old silver ones.”

“I don’t know what they’re going to do with it,” he said.

Ten months ago during a gathering with veterans, a veteran told Walton he had called 20 doctors and not one would accept a voucher from the VA to provide him with the medical care he required because doctors weren’t being paid on a timely basis.

“I know there are doctors that are not taking vouchers,” Walton told the group at the time, showing, however, that inroads were being made to reduce processing claims. “It still is an issue,” he said at the time.

Eperez-trevino@valleystar.com

 

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