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Pat Lisi/Southern Utah Vets Aid

It’s not very often that you get to see good things written about the Veterans Administration.  This is because our society finds it much easier to point out faults in people and organizations than to talk about them in positive ways.  This is also because sometimes the VA deserves to be trashed in conversation — not always — but sometimes.  Yes, I’ve even done my share of  ‘talking smack’ when it comes to the VA and I probably shouldn’t do that.  But, when things get to a certain frustration level and you’ve bashed your brains against the wall and still not found complete satisfaction, it makes it a lot easier to be cynical of the VA.

Today, however, I am here to give praise to the VA, particularly to the Dental Department at the Salt Lake City VA which is located just a few hours to the north of Saint George, Utah where we live.  Recently, I discovered that I have a dental benefit coming from the VA due to my rating status attained by several physical maladies I picked up while serving my country back in the late 60s and early 70s.  I decided to test out this benefit by seeing a local dentist in St. George and getting his opinion on my aging and sore teeth.  He had been advising me to get crowns put on 7 of these troublesome teeth for quite a few years already, but who can afford crowns when you don’t have any dental insurance and each crown runs about 1,000 bucks?!  Not  me, so I’d been holding out with no intention of getting the work done unless it was an absolute emergency.

I discovered my VA dental benefit from a pamphlet they put out.  My dentist and I decided to do just one crown the first time and see if the VA actually would come through with payment for it.  We called the VA in SLC while I was in the chair waiting for their response.  It was immediate and the answer was ‘yes’.  So, we did the crown and I went home without paying a penny.  We did not schedule the next crown work for fear the VA did not pay.  My dentist agreed to not charge me if that happened.

It took about 3 months for the VA to send a check to cover the work, but it proved that the system can and does come through once in awhile.  The VA did have me go up to SLC to their dental clinic to confirm my dentists’ recommendations with that of their own dentist.  He concurred with my guy and the work continued.  I was able to get all 7 crowns done and the VA paid for the work.

So, what else can I do but praise and thank the VA for this.  They saved me a ton of money and a lot of anxiety; I don’t have to worry that those 7 teeth will come apart or turn into something even worse.  The lesson to other veterans is simple:  Find out what your benefits are, and then take advantage of them.  All of them. Why?  That’s simple — BECAUSE YOU EARNED IT.

Take care, and thank you for serving.

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