July 28, 2015 - While political proposals that could downsize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) get bandied about Washington, DC, veterans across the country are experiencing what a smaller role for the VA would mean.
In Nebraska and Iowa, for example, elderly veterans who rely on adult day care and non-skilled nursing care have been told this benefit will go away on August 1. In Idaho, an outreach center where homeless veterans go for a shower and help looking for a job may soon be shuttered. In Denver, a nursing home, post-traumatic stress disorder treatment center and medical research site have been eliminated from the new medical center. And at many VA healthcare facilities across the country, veterans are being told there just aren’t enough doctors and nurses to see them anytime soon. It’s all due to severe budget shortfalls facing the VA – evidence of what can happen when seeking political points and media coverage become more important than making sure America’s veterans get the healthcare and benefits they earned, and were promised.
The VA has faced unyielding criticism for the past year, much of it deserved. From a management perspective, what has transpired at some VA health care facilities is inexcusable. But what has not changed is the fact that veterans need the specialized, unique care that is only found at the VA, the proven leader in preventative care for veterans and world renowned for treating PTSD, spinal cord injury, blindness, amputation, and other injuries related to military service. The number of veterans seeking this care has reached record levels. The New York Times recently reported that VA doctors and nurses have handled 2.7 million more appointments this past year than in any previous year, even while authorizing 900,000 patients to see non-VA medical personnel. Some VA hospitals have seen their patient roster grow by as much as 18 percent. read more>>>