VA benefits are a wonderful thing for those who have served our country, or are currently serving. However, just like any other mass benefit, the process of obtaining and making great use of your benefits can be overwhelming. Learning how to navigate the world of VA health benefits is imperative to a great experience. We’ve done some research to determine exactly how you can make your experience with VA healthcare a great one.

Finding a VA Medical Center Near You

The first step in utilizing your VA health benefits is finding a medical center near you that accepts your benefits. A quick search online will reveal all of your VA hospitals and health-related offices, and will give you a great idea of where you can go in your area. Check out the VA’s web site, specifically, for great information that will help you in your search.

Empower Yourself with Information

It’s imperative in any healthcare experience, but specifically within your VA benefits, that you empower yourself with information regarding your situation. When you go for a doctor’s visit, don’t simply accept a diagnosis or treatment plan without having an idea of what this means or a list of questions to go along with the conversation. The more you know about your injury or condition, the more you can relay to these doctors who deal with veterans everyday, the better your experience will be.

Be Prepared with Documentation

There is a lot of paperwork involved in determining healthcare benefits through the VA. You may be tired of the paperwork by the time you reach the hospital, but having it all done and organized on your end will make the process much easier on their end. Prepping documentation reactively, not proactively, will significantly slow down the process and make things harder on your end, as well as their end. So, do your research. Once you find a VA hospital or care facility, give them a call to see what’s needed, and prep it all in advance to make it a smooth experience.

Don’t Expect Perfection

You need to understand that thousands of men and women all over the country are utilizing this same benefit. VA healthcare, in relation to the number of people using it, is understaffed and doesn’t work flawlessly (no organization does). Be patient, and ask what you can do to help move things along. Don’t expect perfection; rather, show grace, empower yourself, be prepared, and trust your doctors to take great care of you.