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Didn’t miss a beat

A Veteran stands outside on the grounds of the VA and faces the camera.
Chuck Beebe, a USMC Veteran, stands outside on the grounds of the Coatesville VA Medical Center on April 17, 2024, where he receives care for his service connected injuries.

This U.S. Marine Corps Veteran couldn’t have predicted the impact of all the choices he made as he left the Marine Corps in 1967 but there is one that stands out as a really great decision.

Because of the combat related injuries received during his tour in Vietnam, Chuck Beebe didn’t miss a beat when deciding whether to enroll in VA health care. 

With his injuries healed and being otherwise young and healthy, Beebe didn’t give health care much thought after enrolling with the VA. Working for Sikorsky, he primarily relied on the employer's private health care, which worked just fine for nearly 20 years. 

Could there be a worse possible time?
Beebe became financially free to pursue interests that provided him more personal satisfaction and decided to quit his job. He accepted a full-time volunteer position, that experience led to other volunteer positions. When he did go back to work, his new employer didn’t offer health care coverage and Beebe, still healthy, didn’t bother to buy individual coverage. 

The heart murmur that was identified during a military physical developed into a more serious heart condition during this period and he realized he couldn’t wait to be seen. 

“It’s like Murphy’s law,” explains Beebe, “‘Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time.’”

With private health care insurance, Beebe would have been able to be seen at the local hospital and treated by their cardiologist. But without the job, he was no longer covered by their insurance.

Serving Veterans when they need us most
“I was in a situation where I needed health care and I wouldn’t have had health care if it wasn’t for the VA health care system.”

With his service-connected disability and the fact that he enrolled in VA health care all those years ago, Beebe was able to walk into the emergency room at the nearby New Haven VA Medical Center in Connecticut for care. 

Beebe said, the staff at the New Haven VAMC were so concerned about his condition that they kept him overnight for observation and connected him with their cardiologist the next day. 

The best care you can imagine
He was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation or AFib, an irregular and often very rapid heart rhythm. A serious medical condition that can lead to blood clots in the heart, needing proper treatment. AFib also increases the risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

The VA cardiologist gave him a prescription that proved successful at managing his irregular heartbeat. 

“Not only did I get good health care, I got the best health care you could imagine.”

Under care from VA, his heart condition was treated and managed. Under his doctor’s advice Beebe began receiving annual physicals and eventually was back working at Sikorsky.

If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran who has not yet applied for their VA health care benefits, or it’s been a while since you have applied, apply for VA Health care now through Coatesville VAMC.