I am a Marine combat veteran from Operation Iraqi Freedom, and I served from Sept 03 - Jan 08. February 14, 2010 I had to go to the emergency room for appendicitis, and since I had no card from the VA to prove that I was covered under the VA, they treated me as a self pay. After a couple days I was given a representative that "handled" everything with the VA and she told me that everything would be covered. Well I had a few difficulties (blockage in my intestines, collapsed lung, etc) while I was in the hospital and it caused me to stay in the hospital for just about 3 weeks. The day before my final discharge from the hospital, the representative told me that the VA wanted me to transfer to a VA hospital since I wasn't getting any better. Well I was discharged the next day and never returned. here it is almost a year later and I am getting collection notices from the hospitals 3 different departments saying I owe them money. The total cost of the operation and stay was just over $20,000 and the amount that I am in collections for is around $2,000. I make $8.50 an hour and go to school and there is no way I can pay for these collections and I don't feel that I should. I gave the military 4 and a half years of honorable service with absolutely no problems and I need their help, and they are leaving me hanging. Is there anything I can do to get these bills paid? If so, is there a way I can get these collection agencies off of my credit report? I will do anything I have to do to get this handled but I don't know where to start. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.