Mudcat Café message #953319 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59685   Message #953319
Posted By: GUEST,Claymore
15-May-03 - 04:32 PM
Thread Name: BS: News on VA?
Subject: RE: BS: News on VA?
Actually the one thing to be kept in mind is the fact that the Veteran population as a percentage of the whole, is decreasing fairly rapidly. The Martinsburg VA is a superb facility, but with the deaths of the "Greatest Generation" reducing the Vet population, the VAs are having to close wards. When I had my heart attack last month I was the only one in a 10 bed ICU. Later I was moved to a four bed room on the last active ward in the hospital (a total of some forty patients).

So when you read of cutbacks, understand that the VA has a large capacity, which is untapped. The Martinsburg facility has the capacity to grow to 250 fully staffed beds within 24 hours of notification, but under the current Federal Response Plan, that occurs under Presidential Order. The hospitals then fall under FEMA if it is within a Federal Disaster Area, or DoD if it is a declared War.

The plan calls for the triage to occur within the theater of war so that, for example, all spinal cord injuries are put on one plane and land at a National Guard field near here. If they were chemical injuries they would go to another VA specializing in that medicine, somewhere elese in the US. At the point of simple convelesence, they would be flown to a local VA near their Home of Record.

And every congessman has a member of his/her staff to facilitate Veterans Benefits. They coordinate with specially trained members of various Veterans organizations, such as the AmVets or Veterans of Foreign Wars, who are called Claims Representatives. These claims officers are assigned to work only for the Vet, not the VA, in processing the paperwork, and attending the hearings, to assure the Vet is getting all the assistance he deserves.

But do understand that VA benefits are not the same for every veteran. I was drafted and served in Viet Nam, and get different benefits than say a Gulf War Vet who enlisted. These differences occur mainly in the college programs, but they sometimes affect medical benefits, especially if the Discharge was less than Honorable.

But all in all, the system works well, and is well ahead of the planning curve. For example, the VA is now opening wards for female veterans, specializing in the long term effects of combat injuries on females, as well as a preventative medicine program.

Don't believe everything you read about the loss of VA benefits. With all of the Veterans groups on the sidelines, and the personal attention of congressmen who understand that veterans are one of the highest voting groups in the US, nothing but very large excesses will get cut, if that.