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SAVE OUR WACO VA HOSPITAL

Once again, our nations Veterans have been asked to give up a part of their lives for the welfare of this Country!

Our Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Waco, Texas has been targeted for closure! The treatments given inpatient and outpatient will (possibly) be relocated.

The Waco VA Hospital provides the highest quality treatment of any Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) facility in the State of Texas, the only Psych hospital in the state and the only Veterans Blind Rehab facility in the Nation (per KXXV news report August 4, 2003). Yet, this facility has been targeted for closure. If closed, the nearest trained PTSD facility would be in Oklahoma!!! By 2005 (it has been stated), there will only be three VA Hospitals in the state of Texas to serve our Veterans. Texas, the largest state in the United States (besides Alaska) and the area where the largest concentration of Veterans are residing. The loss of any of these assets will leave the Central Texas Veterans looking one hundred miles or more for hospital assistance.

For decades, our Veterans have moved to the areas where VA Hospitals were located to be able to receive treatment. Many of these Veterans are too old to move again in order to receive treatment for their SERVICE-CONNECTED conditions contracted while fighting for our country and our freedom. Many of these Veterans are DISABLED Vets who cannot afford medical treatment other than the VA Healthcare System or do not have money to drive to another part of the state for treatment or hospitalization. Not only will a move mean many of the patients having to start over in a new facility, but with a new doctor, as well. Many of these patients will have to completely start over with treatments because previous accomplishments will be eradicated by the move due to the instability of their conditions. To move these same hospitals - would be abandonment on the parts of the Veterans Administration and the presiding party in the oval office of the White House.

Many of the patients have already been moved to Dallas or Temple at this point. Recently, six psych patients who requested treatment at the Temple VA Hospital were turned away because there were no beds available. (This is a regular occurrence.) If no beds are available, where will the Waco area long-term Veterans be bedded? I do not feel the men and women who fought (and fight) for our Country, our freedom and our way of life should be treated so inhumanely.

What about Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for the Veterans? EMS is already near non-existent in Waco. There are NO private practice psych doctors in the area that will treat a Veteran and believe the VA will reimburse him/her. The community emergency rooms and hospitals are tired of not being paid by the VA for care given to Veterans. With some conditions, a Veteran could not survive a trip one hundred miles or more to a hospital. Not counting the expenses of the Veterans family who needs to be with their loved one. For example, if a Veteran has a heart attack, he/she would have to be taken to the nearest non-VA hospital, then transferred to a VA hospital when stabilized (the closest to me would be 150 miles or more any direction). The family would have to drive to Dallas, San Antonio or Houston (where the only VA Hospitals will be by 2005). Not counting transportation, lodging, meals and having to take off work there are also the responsibilities of mail, newspaper, feeding and watering pets and cows, house sitting and rescheduling all plans or appointments. Who would be receiving the benefits on this ordeal? Sure looks to me like everyone benefits from this EXCEPT the Veteran and their family!!

The VA needs to be where the Veteran is but to close facilities and build new at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars is NOT the answer. This particular facility alone has over 800 employees. This is not counting the other VA facilities scheduled for closure. I can only imagine what is going to happen to the unemployment rate and the economy in our area and state.

What is going to happen to the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans in the future years? Where will they go for treatment (or does anyone seem to care)??? What about the Vietnam era Veterans who are now finding that their diabetes was contracted during military time? What about the Agent Orange patients? Though it is too late for some Veterans what about saving the ones it is not too late for???

When we entered the military services, we were promised medical care for life. Now the VA is trying to shorten our lives by making it so hard for us to receive treatment within a decent radius of our homes. By the time a lot of us travel to a hospital we would need a room just to rest from the trip.

I do not understand the justice in this proposal of Anthony J. Principi and CARES. We have had the opportunity to meet with some of our local politicians (from both political parties) regarding these issues. They are requesting answers to the same questions we have been asking. When we had Rolling Thunder several weeks ago, we stopped at Crawford, Texas upon completion to have lunch. (Operation Rolling Thunder was a rally at the Waco VA Hospital then a caravan to Crawford, Texas.) President Bush was at his Texas Whitehouse that weekend, but was not in town.

The disgusting part of all this the Waco VA Hospital is in President George W. Bushs back yard (within twenty miles)!!!

Please help us try to save this hospital. We need 39,000 signatures (plus the 11,000 we already have).





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Allie LamBy:
Justice, rights and public orderIn:
Petition target:
Anthony J. Principi and CARES Commission

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