“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.”
As We Give Thanks Today
Please Remember Our Veterans
And Thank Them Too
By Visiting A VA Hospital
This Holiday Season
And By Contacting Your Legislators
On Their Behalf
Through the Decades
They Have Given Us
So Much to be Thankful For
And Now Is Truly The Time
To Return The Favor
Just this past year, Veteran Administration hospitals began receiving a new type of patient: veterans barely past their 20th birthdays, blinded by gunshot wounds and bombs in Afghanistan and Iraq.
These are also the kinds of patients the Department of Veterans Affairs now projects will flood an already overtaxed and underfunded veteran health care system that treated more than 5 million veterans last year.
Yet, 18 more VA hospitals are scheduled to be closed or downsized as part of a plan to restructure the government’s health care system.
For the past several years, veterans groups have been fighting back, emphasizing the importance of the VA’s specialized blind rehabilitation, psychiatric, and post-traumatic stress disorder units; the large and aging veteran population and, now; the wave of new veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq who need its services.
Nationwide this fiscal year, 250,000 new patients -- 40 percent of them veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq, and 60 percent of them veterans from other eras -- have entered the VA health care system.
The VA had 171 hospitals nationwide in 1993; by 2003, there were 163 hospitals. Between 1971 and 2003, VA medical-surgical beds were cut by 75.6% (41,595 beds eliminated). As states closed their psychiatric hospitals and literally dumped millions of mentally ill into the streets, the VA slashed 38,602 psychiatric beds, a cut of 88% from 1971-2003.
It is estimated that there are between 200-400,000 homeless veterans today, 45% of whom suffer from mental illness; and 33% who suffer from both psychiatric illness and substance abuse
Please help ensure that our veterans get the medical treatment and help they truly deserve by contacting your legislators and demanding that VA services are increased, not continuously cut.