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Veterans deserve access to quality health care! The VA doesn't seem to think so!

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Please Help Get My Son and Veteran Back to Work

My son is a 3 time combat veteran and a resident of the state of Oregon. He served in the 82nd Airborne Division from 2000 – 2006, serving honorably and promoted to sergeant.
He has a 70% service-related disability for PTSD and for back and wrist injuries.

He had a horrific motorcycle accident on 9/11/17. Prior to the accident he was employed for 2 ½ years by Lowe’s Department store as a Service Manager full time. He has been fully employed since he has been out of the military. The motorcycle accident caused pelvic fractures front and back, 2 broken arms, and fractures of cervical vertebrae C6 and C7. VA is his only medical health care payer.

He spent 2 days in ICU and is on his 5th day on the orthopedic/neurology ward at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, Oregon. He cannot get out of bed to transfer by himself. He cannot stand by himself yet and barely with help. Because of the 2 broken arms, he will be using a platform walker for bearing weight on his elbows when he is able to be on a walker.

He is a strong 37 year-old with a high pain tolerance and a desire to strive toward full recovery. He is engaged to his dear fiancé Laura.

The discharge planner is telling us that the VA will not cover his going to inpatient acute rehabilitation when he is discharged from the hospital. And that the VA will only cover Skilled Nursing Facility placement.
I have been a rehabilitation registered nurse in my 40 year nursing career. I know the difference between the level of nursing care and therapy care in an acute inpatient program and in a skilled nursing facility.

My son, with appropriate physical rehabilitation, has the potential and desire to return to work fulltime as soon as possible. Lowes has been very helpful in reassuring him of his job and starting the process for short term disability assistance and FMLA.

In an inpatient acute rehabilitation facility, he would participate in 3-4 hours of therapy per day for 6 days per week. In a skilled nursing facility (nursing home) he would participate in the minimal amount of physical therapy provided in that setting (1 time per day times 5 days per week at most).

I can’t imagine that the VA would prefer to put him in a nursing home for a long time rather than get him back to work with appropriate rehabilitation in a shorter period of time.
I am requesting that you speak up for him as his advocate with the VA to send him to the next level of care in an inpatient acute rehabilitation facility rather than a skilled nursing facility. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your consideration of my request.

Loving and Pleading Mother,

Nola Pickering



Jesse was discharged from the hospital earlier this week and moved to a skilled nursing facility (read: "nursing home"). To put it nicely... it is NOT what the doctor ordered. The doctors recommended an acute inpatient rehab facility where he would receive physical therapy 4x PER DAY. Instead he is in a place where he will get 5 sessions PER WEEK! A place where there is only one person working at night in charge of meds for the entire facility and he never gets his when he needs them. While the doctors have finally found a combination and dosage of meds that gives him some relief (down to a 7 out of 10 on the pain chart), he remains in constant pain because he can't get anyone to give them to him. If that's how it is for meds I'll leave it to your imagination what it's like for toiletting and hygiene. He sent my mom and Laura home the first night so they could get some sleep but then quickly asked them back. He asked them to stay with him 24/7 because he felt like he needed someone there, with his best interests in mind, to advocate for him. Safety, dignity, respect, and basic humane treatment should be a given, but apparently that's not the case. Now, in an effort to get in touch with the doctor they have been told that the weekend doctor is on vacation and the RN doesn't know who the doctor on call is. 

I say all of this with a point. There is one reason why he is there and not where he needs to be: our United States VA thinks sub-par is good enough for our veterans. The VA declined the doctors' recommendations for a rehab facility. They instead felt that this was good enough. I also believe that the people who make up this great country hold our veterans in high esteem and would be disappointed to learn that this is how our veterans are treated. Jesse volunteered to risk his life so that we can live ours. He willingly chose to make that sacrifice and I will always be proud of him for it. However, what many do not know is that our veterans actually sign up to sacrifice even when they are back on American soil. OUR VETERANS DESERVE BETTER! Our veterans deserve the best that this country has to offer! Unemployment and homelessness is a reality for far too many veterans. A reality they should know nothing about. As you can see, access to quality health care seems to be unattainable as well. AMERICA WE CAN DO BETTER!

Please help me get my brother out of a nursing home and into the rehabilitation facility that he needs. Help me get him back to work!

Thank you for your time and consideration, Emily Webster

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