I think the Tucson hospital is great in the way it dispenses its travel pay....Always a pretty quick line.
In El Paso It is shocking. You wait around 2 hours for travel pay there, while the people behind the window debate whose break it is next. There is the option to have the check mailed to you though...There is a form you fill out, and hand in to the travel window (its actually a box). Then you wait for them to send the voucher, which you then sign and send back, and then they will send you the check. At least that is what they told us. We are still waiting for the check for February and March 2011. We have completed three sets of vouchers which they continue to lose or claim that we never sent them etc etc. So I personally am a little worried about the mailing out of checks, It doesn't work now, whats it going to be like when it is thousands more veterans???
Now it appears each VA hospital does its own thing. In Tucson, when you are done with your appointment it is up to you (no vouchers) to go to the travel pay section which is where you get your medicine(pharmacy) as well as the cashier cage..
You get a ticket and wait for a very long time 30 minutes-1 1/2 depending on the time of the day. When your number is called you go to the window where they verify you had an appointment that day. You can you also collect any pay not picked up for the month.. After they verify, then you get another ticket to wait for another long time to get your cash.
I asked about the new procedure where they just mail you a check in the mail so you no longer have to wait in line-they have to find out how they are going to put this in place.
All this years I had been thinking this was the same procedure used at all sites-quite wrong.
This area is always packed. You are correct, lots of Vets don't know they could have been collecting travel pay. This is word of mouth since no voucher is given, and also lots of folks hate the long wait.
It will be much better when they implement the new policy of just mailing the check to you. Of course there will be a cost associated by this . However they won't need employees to man the travel pay or cashier cage . When I go to my own satellite VA clinic, they would mail the check to you from back east-takes about a month.