Houston VA: Ve Vant to see your papers!

If you are going to the Department of Veterans Affairs complex in Houston beginning Wednesday, July 29, you better have some official VA identification — either for employee or patient.

Houston VA officials said in a press release hot off the mojo wire this afternoon that all vehicles entering the complex will be stopped and occupants will be required to show some form of  VA identification. Required is a VA identification badge, VA parking tag, veteran identification card or an appointment letter.

The massive ID check for the busy complex which includes both the VA Regional Office and the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Hospital is an attempt to reduce unauthorized  parking at the center, which is located in Houston’s busy Texas Medical Center.

Anyone who has ever been to the Houston VA hospital can appreciate the difficulty in finding parking, especially in the mornings. This seems to be a problem at many VA hospitals. But such an identification check does raise questions. If the check is at the entrances to the center, what effect will it have on traffic, especially those cars headed on Holcombe Boulevard in the mornings for the many different Houston hospitals? What about the veteran from Podunk, Texas, who left his appointment letter at home, 100 miles away? What about the veteran who is going to the VA for the first time to enroll for services and has no ID, only his proof of military service? Finally, what about the many veterans who are not going to see this little notice because the majority of the news media, especially outside Houston, are not going to report such information?

It kind of makes you wonder. But hey, I did my part. If you have any questions, call the Houston VA police through the main hospital number, and good luck getting through. It can be quite challenging to call someone at the Houston VA hospital. Then again, patience is a necessary virtue for VA patients.