I have traveled from here at Lakeside to Texas for appointments with the VA. If you are not 100% disabled or totally indigent you will have to pay a copay for each visit. If you could get several things accomplished in one day you only pay 1 copay. Then, if you have prescriptions you will have a copay on those, too. I was never able to schedule several appointments in one day. Then there is the housing situation. If you don't have a place to stay, friends or family, near the VA facility then you will need a motel room. The cheapest I found was about $60 per night. There were times I would go up there and have to stay several nights because of scheduling problems or recovery times.
McAllen is the nearest facility. They have a nice, new clinic which I swear was built with the money from my copays. It is not easy to get around in McAllen. A taxi will cost you a minimum of $14 per trip to the clinic. Then there is another $14 to get back to the motel. I got wise and finally started renting a car because by time I paid a taxi for each outing I could have paid for the rental. All this is considering you are not driving from here to McAllen. I always found it less expensive to take a bus to McAllen and rent a car. The bus, with INAPAM discount is less than $120 round trip. You will pay at least $100 in tolls if you drive.
There is still the chance that the VA will not approve your hip replacement. A friend needed to have some disc (4) replaced in his neck. He was not able to get this done at the VA. He signed up for Seguro Popular (sp) and had the surgery done here. That procedure cost him $1200 out of pocket. He had spent a lot more than that, going to McAllen and San Antonio, with all the costs mentioned above before getting the surgery done here.
I was a member of the American Legion here. At that time they did not have a service officer. I have heard they have a guy now who is pretty good dealing with the bureaucracy at the VA. It may be worth a try.
I personally do not use the VA anymore. I have found that my IMSS coverage is better than the VA. I have bladder cancer which the VA denies was caused by agent orange. IMSS is doing the same thing for me that the VA was doing but without the cost.