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OFFE Mandatory Funding


Why we need Mandatory Funding for Veteran’s Healthcare

By Gene D. Simes

Chairman, Operation Firing For Effect


March 29, 2007

Many people are confused about what full funding of the Department of Veterans Affairs really means. Below you will find 8 very good examples of why full mandatory funding of the VA healthcare system is essential. Merely visit the links included to view substantial documentation.

  • On August 22, 1986, the VAMC in Atlanta Georgia released a Memorandum changing their procedures for self injections for diabetic insulin users. The change in policy was as follows; “Effective for new prescriptions written after September 2, 1986, you should use each disposable insulin syringe two times before throwing it away”. The only possible reason for this new policy was budgetary. This change in procedure was a blatant attempt to cut the year’s insulin syringe budget in half. Apparently, the VA needed funds elsewhere, and decided this very questionable and risky injection procedure was a good idea. Well known Georgia veterans rights advocate [Name Omitted] led a successful public campaign to have this unsafe practice stopped immediately. This one small example illustrates how budget restraints affect the quality of healthcare our veterans receive. Mandatory full funding would guarantee that our veterans would never be asked to use a dirty syringe again.

  • Although the telephone has been around for well over a century, it wasn’t until 1996 that all VA hospitals nationwide were equipped with bedside telephones. Up until that time, unless you could make it to the pay phone down the hall, patients made no calls, much less receive any.  In 1995, Mr. Francis Dosio of PT Phone Home and the Communication Workers of America Union took up the concept veterans activist [Name Omitted] had started several years earlier and launched a nationwide project to install bedside phones in every VA hospital in the country. All of the labor and equipment was donated but the story was not publicized. The VA didn’t have to pay one dine for the bedside phone project as all of the funds were donated from the private sector. Mandatory full funding would insure that our veterans do not have to depend on charity for the most basic amenities and services.

  • In 1998, the VAMC in Atlanta attempted to implement parking fees for all veterans visiting the facility. Vietnam combat veteran [Name Omitted] openly challenged the parking plan and stimulated public outrage which halted the idea before it was enforced. But once again, we see desperation by the VA to find funds while passing the cost onto our veterans. Mandatory full funding would guarantee that our veterans are never again ask to pay to access the healthcare services they have earned.

  • In 2006, two veterans died after they were refused entrance and lifesaving treatment at the VA hospital in Spokane Washington. The reason; they arrived after the emergency room had closed. Mandatory full funding would insure that all VA hospitals with a pre-existing emergency room could maintain 24/7 emergency services for critically ill veterans.

  • In 1978, travel reimbursement for veterans traveling to a VA hospital for a scheduled appointment was 11 cents per mile, which was when gas was 49 cents a gallon. This reimbursement amount has remained unchanged for 29 years. In this case, Mandatory full funding would provide the funds to increase this allowance and allow for the payment of travel pay to fluctuate with the rising cost of fuel.
  • Currently, the VA has a backlog of over 90,000 claims waiting processing. Many veterans are required to wait well over a year for their VA rating decision. Under-staffing is the primary reason for these delays. Mandatory funding would make it possible for the VA to hire additional staff to process and expedite claims. 
  • Low wages offered by the VA make it very difficult to entice and retain high quality medical professionals. Doctors, nurses, dentist, psychiatrist, counselors, and nutritionist all make significantly more money in the private sector. Mandatory funding would allow for increases in salaries which would attract more medical professionals into the VA healthcare system.  
  • Mandatory funding would also insure that future medical research done by the VA would not be restricted by budget constraints.

These are just 8 examples of why we need full funding of the VA. There are many more examples just like these. I hope this report convinces you to support full mandatory funding for the VA healthcare system. I encourage you to visit our web site,, print out our resolution, sign it and send it to; Operation Firing For Effect, P.O. Box 77303, Rochester, NY 14617.

Remember, if you do nothing, you can expect nothing to change.



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