As a community at large we veterans have to get proactive about the Veterans Health Administration. A recent visit to the VAMC Westside Hospital in Chicago revealed something very interesting to me. A lot of veterans are draining the resources NOT BECAUSE they need them but because they operate from the mentality they are entitled to them. And yes EVERY VETERAN is entitled to use the resources of the VHA. But due to the large size of the veteran population. We must consider applying the basic rule of, "Just because we can does not mean that we do". Take myself for instance, I am a 70% Service Connected Disabled Veteran. I have health care benefits from my employer and I have priority one status at the VHA. Since I realize that many veterans are not in my unique situation. I take it upon myself to only use the pharmacy portion of my veterans entitlements. So I see my VA Primary Care Doctor, once a year and bring my private records to that annual appointment for the purpose of maintaining balance with my healthcare. To be honest I didn't always take this approach but here's what enlightened me that all us veterans are in this together. I have a SC Back Condition and needed physical therapy. My civilian doctor wrote the script the VA doctor agreed and off net was to PT at the VA Hospital. Net gets there and it is over worked under staffed and net see's nothing but veterans that desperately need those resoruces. Net has access to those resources outside of the VA so net that day removed himself from the list and surrendered my weekly appointments to a veteran more in need than myself and I pay 15.00 per visit co-pay at a private facility. Yes I am entitled to the FREE therapy at VA. But since I can afford the co-pay why should I take away resoruces from a fellow veteran that cannot. Similar situation, many veterans waste a doctors appointment for the express purpose of getting a perscription filled. You can have the doctor write the script and then fill it via mail order at most VAMC's. That frees that appointment time for another veteran that may have been waiting up to a year to see the Primary Care Doctor. The purpose of this post is for veterans to look around and ask themselves what can I do to relax the strain on the VHA's resources and make those resoruces work for me.