Posted on Aug 8, 2023
Capt Richard DeVaux
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I have imminent surgeries that will require general anesthesia. I have no friends or family to accompany me to and from the surgery. Is there a service through the VA that can allow me to have a surgery under general anesthesia, that will take me to the surgery then to my home after the surgery?
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Responses: 14
COL Randall Cudworth
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Often times your local Veterans Affairs (VA) Centers have programs (called "Medical Companion Program") or know of volunteers who can provide companionship and assistance to veterans for appointments. This varies by center, so call the main number and request to speak to the patient advocate.

As PO1 H Gene Lawrence said, there are many VSOs that do "peer support" with veterans that require someone to accompany them. For example, the "Volunteers for Veterans" program with the DAV connects veterans up with volunteers. Don't forget to check with your local Red Cross office as well.

Check with your local community centers, senior centers, or churches as well. This isn't unique to veterans having surgeries and often have programs that you might be eligible for.

Also, contact your State's Veterans Affairs Office and (depending on how old you are) your state's Office for Aging Services to see if there are any state specific programs.

Finally, you can do a search for programs near you. Some key terms you would use are:
Companion Service for Medical Appointments
Assisted Transportation Services with Companion Care
Medical Escort programs

Bottom line is that most (all?) programs are local, so what would work for someone in Northern Virginia isn't going to work for someone in Eastern Kentucky.
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COL Randall Cudworth
COL Randall Cudworth
4 mo
Maj Dr. Pamayla Darbyshire - Many are not aware, but the VA will reimburse you if you need to take a rideshare.

Additionally, if your medical center participates in the VA's "Uber Health Connect Initiative*" (check with your center), the Transport Coordinator at the Medical Center will arrange for the rideshare - you don't have to do anything.

If you're just looking for transportation (no a 'medical companion'), you can see what options might be available through the Veterans Transportation Service*. You can just jump straight to the VetRide portal* if you're already aware of it.

Capt Richard DeVaux
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* https://news.va.gov/122430/vha-uber-health-connect-veterans-transportation/
* https://www.va.gov/HEALTHBENEFITS/vtp/map.asp
* VetRide - https://www.vetride.va.gov/app/home
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Maj Dr. Pamayla Darbyshire
Maj Dr. Pamayla Darbyshire
4 mo
Thank you for the references. I live over 400 miles from my medical center. Even though we do have an outpatient-based clinic here, not that many vets are here who are aware of the services available for those of us who are in need. It would be nice, but it is not available. I'll keep these references in mind. No pending applications at the moment! Which is a good thing.
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SGT Air Defense Radar Repairer
SGT (Join to see)
4 mo
Maj Dr. Pamayla Darbyshire I'm not sure all VA's have it but ours has a program with uber. Some standards such as being able to walk,minimum 30% disability and primary care putting in the right consult.
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SGT Air Defense Radar Repairer
SGT (Join to see)
4 mo
Maj Dr. Pamayla Darbyshire The distance from a VA medical care center does not matter.
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1SG Russell S.
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The DAV. The best group out there…in my opinion.
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1st Lt Mary James
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Same problem here. I freaked during the pandemic when many of us were forced out by high rents or landlords selling their rentals. I was literally homeless for a year after I exhausted trips going to motels that cost too much and didn't afford a decent nights sleep. Was having weird symptoms in my legs and was kicked out of the Ears because they thought I was just trying to get a warm bed. Finally got an MRI that revealed multilevel problems and finally got into the Domiciliary. Had to have surgery in Knoxville which is over an hour away and couldn't drive myself. Social Workers at the VA called around.
Most VAMCs have in house vans and shuttle services, so with a mileage radius plus they have contracts with other transport services arranged through the travel office at the hospital. I got a ride from Johnson City Tenn with CPC to Knoxville where I spent a night in a motel. The following morning of surgery, a local DAV van took me to the hospital. If you lived anywhere near me I'd go with you because I've been in your shoes. (When I had family they were never there snyway)
So anyway, most larger cities have senior centers and programs that can offer rides or support, or know of services (apologies, don't know your age), of course the VA Clinics or Hospitals should have Social Workers that know this information. Also reach out to your local American Legion or DAV, many do have vehicles for transport which they also use to take Vets to services for other Vets or community events like Veterans Day parades. I hope this helps, you are not alone, there are many others like us. Good luck with your surgery I'll be thinking of you
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