My article entitled "Eighteen More Veterans Administration Medical Centers Are Under The Ax" has caused a bit of confusion amongst some of the people who have read it. Let me clear this up.
The list of 18 VAMCs, that I have written about as being “under the ax”, comes from the VA’s own CARES web site. www.va.gov/cares/
By saying “Under The Ax”, I mean that government plans are either already in the works to chop up the VAMC properties, on the list, for partial or total non-VAMC reuse, or there are studies and proposals in motion to chop them up later. The proposals for reuse include leasing land parcels for anything to be built on them from high priced housing developments to various other types of buildings that are not for veterans only use.
CARES stands for Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services. It musta’ taken them a lot of brain stormin’ to come up with that one. It’s real good camouflage, that’s for sure.
Capital Asset Realignment basically means that the VA wants to make money by leasing out VAMC properties for reuse by anyone who wants to take the properties away from America’s Veterans. The Enhanced Services part is saying that the money from the leases will be used to make VA health care better and bigger, just not on VAMC properties that are located in nice, beautiful geographic areas or on high priced, heavily desired real estate.
Go to the CARES web site. On that web site there are links to reports on public and government meetings which were held to discuss the futures of each VAMC on the list. Put your computer’s on screen pointer under the name of any VAMC, that you wish info on, the pointer will turn into a hand, and then left click on the name and you will be led to the government’s version of what the facts of each VAMC realignment proposals are.
From emails I have received, concerning the 18 VAMCs article, I have learned that the not all of what the government said at the meetings came true. The folks in Walla Walla, Washington, who attended meetings and fought to keep their local VAMC open, were told that it would not change unless more funding was allocated to make it better. In late March, a veteran out there read my 18 VAMC article, went to a scheduled doctor’s appointment at the Walla Walla VAMC the next day, asked his VA Doctor if the VAMC would be closing, and the Doc told the veteran patient that the facility will be closing in 5 years. The vet, and his friend Barbara, who drove him to his appointment, went ‘right through the roof’, when they heard that.
The VA never gets all of the funding that it requests from congress, so the VA’s stated idea behind CARES is to make up for that lack of funding by leasing out unused or under used VA real estate. Most of that real estate is still desperately needed for VA health care, but there isn’t enough money in the VA’s budget to make good use of the properties.
If the VA were to receive sufficient funding to deliver the full amount of health care that America’s Military Veterans earned and need, then most VAMCs would never be considered for Capital Asset Realignment, because the medical facilities on the VA properties would be improved, expanded and have new, state of the art medical buildings built next to them. And those medical facilities would have plenty of patients using them.
Because the Veterans Administration Medical System is primarily used by either disabled veterans (like myself) or blue collar working class veterans, who have low to moderate incomes, who have very little political pull or financial power, there are wealthy, arrogant entities in this world who have no concern for the VA Health Care System or the average veteran who is a patient in a Veterans Administration Medical Center. Those politically and financially powerful entities are doing their best to take prime real estate VAMC properties and use them for their own selfish purposes.
CARES is one stinking, humongous, cloud of smoke being blown up the arses of America’s Veterans, current Military Personnel, their loved ones and other folks who do care about having enough well maintained, state of the art Veterans Administration Medical Centers to serve all veterans who need VA medical care.