NewsChannel 10 Investigates: VA Pharmacy medication - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

NewsChannel 10 Investigates: VA Pharmacy medication

AMARILLO, TX - The VA has a special program where war veterans can obtain medication for free or at a significantly reduced cost.

However, some veterans say that perk doesn't come without a price. 

Amarillo Veterans we spoke with both on and off camera say they appreciate the pharmaceutical services the VA has been providing for decades but at times, they say it can be frustrating with billing issues and limited options concerning their medication. 

Veteran Dennis Powell takes three types of medication daily to assist with gall bladder problems and stomach hernias. 

The VA can provide medication for people like Powell for free if the patient's problems were connected to their service in the military. 

Powell says until recently, he's never had any issues obtaining the medication for free. 

"I had to come up here and raise holy heck because the nurse didn't want me to have the medication I've been taking for three years that they've been paying for," Powell claimed. 

If doctors at the VA label the patients medication as "service connected," there should be no cost to the consumer. 

Otherwise, veterans can expect to pay a co-pay just like you normally would through an outside pharmacy. 

He claims his medication that was once "service connected," is now costing him money. 

After addressing the issue with the billing department, he says they've corrected the issue. 

However, he worries other veterans may be paying for medication the VA should be providing for free. 

Meanwhile, other veterans have told us they've been denied medication even after they've provided the VA with a doctor's prescription. 

Acting Chief Pharmacist John Gulde has a simple explanation. 

"Orders (prescriptions) have to be written by a VA provider," Gulde said. 

For those veterans who may be wondering why their prescriptions haven't been approved, chances are it was written by a doctor other the ones employed by the VA. 

"A patient can see an outside provider," Gulde said. "What we ask is that if they want to have their medication filled through the VA, they bring in the prescription with all the records and then if the primary care provider here concurs with it, the provider can write it and the veteran can have it filled." 

If the healthcare professionals there disagree with an outside doctors recommendation, they do have the ability to not fill that prescription, citing safety issues. 

Gulde says there are two main benefits with getting your medication through the VA. 

First, he says their costs can be considerably cheaper if you fill your prescription there verse another pharmacy. 

Secondly, he adds that having centralized care means one doctor has full access to all your health needs and knows exactly what medication your taking. 

The VA says if you have any problems with the VA's pharmacy, contact their patient advocate office. 

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