IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release

May 30, 2003

No. 03-12

Contact:
Mokie Porter

(301) 585-4000 Ext.146


VVA Applauds Most Recommendations
Of President’s Task Force on Veterans Health

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Vietnam Veterans of America applauds the conclusions and recommendations of the President’s Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery for Our Nation’s Veterans.  “This Final Report is both a blueprint for reform and a clarion call for action,” said Thomas H. Corey, VVA National President. “We expect the President, who has consistently given his sincere thanks to the men and women in uniform, to endorse the immediate implementation of the key recommendations of his Task Force as part of our national obligation.” 

“The report,” Corey said, “recognizes what VVA and other Veterans Service Organizations have known for years, that the VA health-care system, in the words of the report, is impaired by a mismatch between resources and demand.  

“One remedy for this situation, which has been exacerbated by the spiraling costs of health care and insurance premiums, and by well-intentioned laws passed by Congress, is the institution of mandatory funding for the medical operations of the VA.  This shift would help ensure a consistent, predictable, and appropriate level of funding to enable the VA to meet its obligations to veterans, including military retirees,” Corey said.  

Any funding mechanism, Corey added, must take into account years of flat-line budgeting in the mid-1990s. That, along with the increase in the number of eligible veterans who have enrolled in the VA health-care system, has led directly to a precipitous drop in the resources expended per patient by the VA. “This extraordinary shortfall,” Corey said, “demands an extraordinary solution now.  VVA believes that Congress must do more than simply ‘resolve the status of veterans with income levels above VA’s means test threshold with no compensable service-related disabilities.’  The law has welcomed these veterans to enroll in the VA system.  Now, Congress must provide resources to meet their needs without adversely affecting services to VA’s traditional constituency, veterans with service-connected disabilities and indigent veterans. VVA has long advocated permitting the VA to bill Medicare. This is a potential resource that must be explored further.” 

Corey strongly endorsed the recommendation that the President direct VA and DoD to implement programs to identify the long-term health consequences of military service in high-risk occupations, settings, and events, that VA institute a policy that a real military history will be taken of every patient to help doctors diagnose and treat their ailments.

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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

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