At my last visit to the Mt. Vernon VA clinic, my primary care doctor suggested that I go to a neurologist to get my migraines evaluated. I agreed, and he wrote the request for a consult.
Last Monday, I got a message through the VA Secure Messaging system from the Neurology Clinic at the Fayetteville, AR, VA hospital. They said they had been trying to contact me at a phone number in their system which seems to no longer be valid (it’s the phone number to an old cell phone my wife used to have which she lost several years ago). They informed me of their hours, and wanted to know when a good time would be for me to come in for a 1 hour consult.
I tried to send a reply through the same Secure Messaging system – and was told that I could not send the reply because I did not have authorization to contact that Triage Group. Which means, as far as email systems go, the VA’s system flunks every major test of functionality.
To be useful, I should be able to easily and automatically respond to any message sent to me by any authorized user of that system whenever I’m logged into the same system. Instead, after the system told me I couldn’t reply, I had to send an e-mail to the nurse of my Primary Care unit in Mt. Vernon, explaining that the system wouldn’t allow me to respond to Fayetteville, and asking them to put me in touch with someone who could authorize the contact. I’m still waiting.