NOTE: Letters in my Q&A columns are reprinted just as they come to me. Spelling and grammar are left as is and only small corrections are made to improve readability, ensure anonymity or delete expletives that may offend some readers. This is not legal advice. You should always seek the advice of an attorney who is qualified in Veterans' law before you make any decisions about your own benefits.
Erectile Dysfunction & Vietnam Vets
I'm a Vietnam vet and have erectile dysfunction. Does theVA Hospital cover this? I was in Vietnam in 66-67.
Thank you for writing and thanks for your service to our country.
The VA does cover ED.
Here's my recommendation.
If you have never had an Agent Orange examination, please go by your nearest VA clinic or medical center and arrange for that to be done. You will get a good physical and a lot of health advice. If you are not registered to receive VA health care benefits, you should register at that time. An appointment will be made for you to see a primary care physician. While you're seeing your primary care provider, you may mention the condition of ED to that person and as a rule, a prescription will be entered for you to receive Levitra, one of the 3 ED medicines available today.
While you are entering the system, you may also find that you're likely eligible for some form of VA disability because of your Vietnam service. Your symptom of ED may be a sign of vascular disease, diabetes, PTSD or other physical and psychological issues.
At this time you should seek out a County Veterans Service Officer and ask for their (no charge) assistance in completing an application for a disability award.
Due to budget constraints, the prescription is for one 20 mg. Tablet of Levitra each month. The dosage is usually 10 mg. per use so you are expected to halve that pill and you have 2 doses each month. Erectile dysfunction is not a priority to VA and there are many ongoing discussions about the politics behind the supposed cost savings.
Many Veterans accept the one tablet each month and then ask their primary care provider to write them a prescription to be filled at a civilian, private pharmacy. The provider will usually be happy to oblige and the Veteran is then required to pay the small cost of the medicine out of pocket.
A word of caution...don't ever be tempted to order any of the advertised (spammed) ED products through the Internet, only use a legitimate pharmacy for your health needs. Anything you may order from these on-line pharmacies may be a fake drug of some sort and cause you a ton of health problems.
I hope this helps.
And from Thomas Stoddert:
Several methods are used to determine if you get care for this medical issue. First, are you service connected for this issue as a primary condition or as a secondary resultant of another service connected condition? Second, you may qualify for treatment based on the over all rating percentage already assigned to you by your states VA Regional Office. Third, if you do not meet any of the first set of conditions, then check with your closest VA hospital, they may say “yes” and treat you any way.
Either way contact your closest VA hospital or clinic. I suggest you do so in person. You my find out about other programs designed for people like you regardless of any Rating Percentage.
The best to you.
More from Jim:
The term "ED" wasn't popularized until that little blue pill came along. Suddenly it was OK for a man to speak openly of erectile dysfunction and impotence.
There are many causes and contributing factors to ED, almost all of them may be somehow service connected.
You may suffer a degree of ED if you're a have any degree of diabetes. If you're diabetes is service connected (because of Vietnam service for example), the ED condition should be rated as secondary to the primary service connected condition.
Erectile dysfunction or impotence is referred to as "loss of a creative organ" in the rules that apply to the condition. No doubt the verbiage addressing loss of a creative organ was first meant to cover such events as a gunshot or other wounding to a man's penis or testicles or any part of a woman's reproductive organs.
Over time it's been recognized that "loss" may also refer to function as well as the physical loss.
ED is rated as a Special Monthly Compensation above and beyond any other ratings you may have. The rating will be SMC-k and will compensate you at about $100.00 per month.
Often enough, even though ED may be noted or implied, you'll have to ask for it.
ED may also be service connected as a secondary condition to such things as side effects of medications taken for SC conditions or other physical and mental conditions.