LAKE CITY, Fla. -- A Lake City veteran said acupuncture is the only way to get his life back as he deals with excruciating pain after losing his leg.
Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine centered around tiny needles that when placed throughout the body are believed to restore health and remove energy imbalances.
But the alternative treatment that he said was once covered by the VA is no longer an option.
"It feels just like somebody is twisting off your leg. The pain, the best way to describe it, is excruciating," said Glance.
In 2006, the veteran, who spent three years in the U.S. Navy, used a vein from his leg as part of his triple bypass surgery. The site where the vein was removed became infected. Two amputations and seven years later, Glance is trying to regain his quality of life.
"Most times, they end up here is when they've tried everything else. That's the sad thing about what happens with acupuncture," said Michael Schwartz, Glance's acupuncture physician.
But the alternative medicine that has been recommended by the North Florida/South Georgia VA System is a treatment he's been told is now longer covered.
Despite the fee-based reimbursement plan, Glance said acupuncture fell under between 2007 and 2009.
"I'm very frustrated because it's not only myself it's every veteran in North Florida and South Georgia, so that means none of us amount to nothing to them," said Glance.
First Coast News spoke with the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System in Gainesville and they said they do not offer acupuncture and could not speak to what might have happened in the past. When asked why they don't provide acupuncture, FCN was told they couldn't tell us.
The Department of Veterans Affairs website lists acupuncture as an option for combat vets who have injuries or illnesses as a result of service in Operations Iraqi Freedom and/or Enduring Freedom.
The N. Florida/S. Georgia Veterans Health System covers 50 counties including hospitals and out patient facilities, which we've been told do not offer acupuncture.
We put in a call to the V.A. Hospitals in Miami and Bay Pines to see if their policy is the same, but had not heard back by Thursday evening.
First Coast News