VA Clinic in STX
I am thinking of retiring to STX for part of each year and was wondering about the Veteran's Affairs Cinic on STX. Is it open daily? and if so how hard is it to get an apointment?
Go to " St Croix VA Clinic" or VA Caribbean Healthcare System. You will find the day's and hours of operation, Services available, Phone Numbers, Location and direction to the clinic. You must register with the clinic so Bring your DD214, Any award letters from your Regional VA Center, C Number. I Have used the clinic since it opened in 1994, never had to wait more than 2 weeks for a routine appointment. All new patients get a complete physical exam and blood work.
I have had mostly positive experiences with the VA outpatient clinic and the VA Caribbean Health-care system. Like any medical facilities, the VA included, its not perfect----but as veterans, its "OURS" and "OURS" to make better by communicating the problems we encounter.
My GOOD experiences:
(1) Before you can use the VA outpatient clinic, you must register with the clinic---even if you have your VA card and registered in the VA system. Its maybe a 2 page form, copy of your DD214, and current VA card helps expedite the process. 2 weeks after I submitted all requirements, I was registered.
(2) No problems getting appointments.
(3) If you require services not available at the clinic, the clinic will
1. make an appointment at the VA in Puerto Rico. or
2. Issue you a voucher for a service provider on or off the island of St Croix.
If off island, and the service is related to a service connected injury, the VA will also provide transportation(plane ticket, etc...).
If not service connected, you have to pay for the travel for the appointment scheduled by the VA. However, the Virgin Island government has a program to reimburse the veteran for his or her transportation expense. The veteran goes to the VA regional office in Christiansted, provides a copy of the appointment and completes a form for reimbursement. 4-6 weeks later, you will receive a check.
(4) The staff at the VA Outpatient clinic is outstanding. Customer oriented---and always seems willing to do the best for the veterans. Like everywhere else, the clinic appears to be under staff and underfunded, which limits the staff abilitity to provide the VERY BEST serrvices for the veterans---but they try.
(5) Surgery in Puerto Rico was top of the line. Results have been great. Any rehab and or follow-up as a result of the surgery, the VA outpatient clinic has taken care of.
(6) small pharmacy at the clinic---fast and efficient for prescriptions and refills.
My "BAD" experiences:
(1) Getting initial services after I sustained a serious injury. This delay was caused by :
1. I was not registered with the clinic, although I had my VA card recognized all over in the United States, I still had to be registered.
2. I was a walk-in , and needed services not available at the clinic on the day I walked-in.
Although the staff advised me I had to seek services outside the VA, I refused to leave the clinic until I received the documentation the VA could not provide the services and the VA was going to pay for the services the clinic could not provide(emergency room visit, XRAYs, and more test determined I had a broken and crushed my heel which would require surgery).
After returning the next day to the clinic with the paperwork from the local hospital, the staff at the clinic expedited all other services required---visit to VA in Puerto Rico and later surgery performed at the VA in Puerto Rico.
(2) Going to the VA for blood work. It seems the clinic does it once a month on a Thursday-----and every veteran on the island is scheduled from 830-1000. You arrive at the clinic, sign in and take a number. The wait could be 2-3 hours, groups of 4 are called in non stop for blood work.
The waiting room is nice with a TV and plenty to read----but the wait seems to be forever especially since you have to fasten since midnight. If I find my wait will be an hour or two, I leave the clinic and do a few errand. When I return, my number is still about an hour away, so I wait till called.
Hope the "GOOD" and "BAD" experiences help. Bottom line, you will be overall happy with the VA services here on ST Croix . Should not impact any decision making on whether or not you should relocate----as the services in my opinion are equal and or better what you get stateside in a VA system.