What You Can Expect From Government Healthcare

April 20, 2010 at 09:00 (General Stupidity, Health, News)

Nice.

Glenn McBride, a 14-year veteran of the Army, received a perplexing letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs that included a request for more information about his “menstrual disorder.”

Last month, a decorated Gulf War hero received a letter from the Veterans Affairs Administration that said: We are working on your claim for menstrual disorder.

There was just one problem: The claim was submitted for fibromyalgia.

Make that two problems: The claim was submitted by Glenn McBride, a 40-year-old man from Roanoke, Va., who most definitely does not get menstrual cramps.

It’s a bad sign when your health insurance provider can’t figure out which gender reaches for the Midol. (Hint: it’s the one without the prostate.)

The Department of Veterans Affairs is notorious for bungling health care benefits, and its Roanoke regional office, which handled McBride’s claim, has long been considered among the worst.

Glenn McBride, pictured during Operation Desert Storm

In September 2009 a surprise inspection found the office was collapsing under the weight of its own bureaucratic incompetence. Literally.

Its filing system — floor-to-ceiling stacks of overfilled file cabinets and loose claims folders — weighed twice as much as the building’s structure allowed, threatening the lives of everyone inside. Inspectors also found missing and improperly filed, stored and processed claims, among other problems. The regional office was ordered to overhaul the health care processing center completely.

By last month, six months later, there should have been some improvement. Instead, McBride received a letter that included this perplexing request for additional information:

“On the VA Form 21-4138, Statement in Support of Claim you sent on October 8, 2009, you included menstrual disorder. Please specify what you intended to claim for this condition.”

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