I have a series going at FWD/Forward on navigating invisible disability claims in the military and the VA, and some other inside perspectives on TRICARE and military/Veteran’s health care.
Shifting the Responsibility for Disability in Uniform:
Hir PCM might evaluate hir, refer hir out for tests with specialists, or set hir on a merry-go-round of treatments. When the ride stops sie may or may not have any answers, and there may or may not be a Medical Review Board pending to tell hir the terms of the future of hir career.
This is where things get interesting. By interesting, I mean kind of fucked up. One, any or all of those specialists might have diagnosed hir. Those doctors start treating hir accordingly, because while TRICARE (military medical insurance) has its flaws, it kicks a lot of arse, and sie gets the care sie needs, mentally and physically (until her PCM deploys, but that is another post altogether, just you wait!), all under the umbrella of hir diagnosis. But then the Medical Review comes up, and all of hir doctors have to write these recommendations, and suddenly things change in terms of hir care. In hir appointments hir doctors start getting vague about care plans, and start talking around the actual words for hir condition…sie might suddenly feel dismissed or as if hir questions are not being answered.
A Delayed Deployment of Care:
One of the most frustrating aspects of dealing with a chronic pain condition while under military care, as an active duty service member or a dependent is an inconsistency of care. Something that I learned pretty early on is that my best bet for getting the best care is to have a regular doctor.
May I drop into a sports metaphor?
Your regular doc, or in my case, my PCM, should be the quarterback of your health care team. Sie should be the one on the field, aware of all the other team’s members (your symptoms, labs, tests, etc.), the plays your team have available (medications, treatments, therapies you are trying/have tried), the other team members (other docs and lab techs), as well as the special teams coaches available (specialists). The quarterback should be able to run the plays and call audibles as needed, because the quarterback presumably knows the team, is comfortable with the team and the plays, and has been doing this a while.
But if you are playing on a military team your quarterback gets traded. A lot. Often without you even knowing, in the dark of the night like Jon Gruden to the Buccaneers.