This forward will convert from eml to htm - Scott
----- Original Message -----
From: "Name Deleted"
Cc: "Veteran Issues Name Deleted; <carlyoung@dav.net>
Sent: Sunday, December 22, 2002 7:12 PM
Subject: [VeteranIssues] Please ad a direct link to vet voices
 
Would lke to see a direct link to Vets' voices on your web site, so readers can more easily find past issues..from your front page..

. a big thanks to The Reporter and to Carl Young for the timely information.... many of his articles are sent to veterans around the web...  the below link was hard to find on your site:
http://www.thereporter.com/Current/Vets/index.html

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     Sunday . December 22, 2002 
      Accessibility of health care for veterans is critical
      During the next few years, The Veterans' Health Administration will spend billions of dollars operating, maintaining, and improving facilities at health-care locations nationwide. 
      The VA's health-care assets total more than 4,700 buildings and 18,000 acres at 181 major locations. In March 1999, the General Accounting Office reported that VHA could enhance veterans' health-care benefits if it reduced resources spent on underused, inefficient, or obsolete buildings and used the savings for modern facilities at existing or new locations closer to where veterans live. 

      VHA does not systematically evaluate how veterans' needs relate to asset needs geographically or compare costs and alternatives, such as purchasing care from other providers, in order to meet veterans' needs at lower costs. 

      The GAO recommended that VHA develop asset-restructuring plans for all medical care markets as outlined in a report at
www.gao.gov VA Health Care: "VA Is Struggling to Respond to Asset Realignment Challenges." 

      This asset-restructuring process is considered a landmark study of the nation's largest health-care system. The VHA feels it has identified "planning initiatives" or gaps, between current supply and future demand through 2022. Refer to http:/www.va.gov/cares/page.cfm?pg=1 for further information. 

      Key building blocks missing include factors influencing access to facilities. Where a veteran lives shouldn't be the only factor in determining whether a facility is accessible. Considerations should include timeliness of care and types of medical services provided. 

      Demographics are important along with the level of local specialized care, public transportation, staffing, operating hours and the length of waiting periods. These factors affect many local veterans' utilization of local VA medical facilities. 

      Our elected representatives need to hear concerns raised by the veterans community, and should recommend that the GAO examine the complete process, and determine if methods and data utilized are appropriate. Methods to address any potential shortfalls should be recommended. Factors should be considered in determining accessibility of care at current and future sites. 

      It is my opinion that current criteria being used to determine future allocations of capital resources is sound. Factors used for determining our accessibility of health care needs, however, is fundamentally flawed. 

      Please provide your comments, questions and concerns and mail to: VANCHCS, CARES Communications Liaison (00/CARES), 150 Muir Road, Martinez, 94553 or fax to (925) 372-2020. Comments may also be sent via e-mail to
maccares@med.va.gov, or you may call (800) 382-8387, Option 5 or (925) 372-2000, Ext. 6914, and please consider advising your elected officials of our concerns. 

      Carl Young is a local veteran who can be reached at
carlyoung@dav.net. "Vaca Vet's Voice'' appears biweekly, alternating "Kelli's Heroes,'' by Kelli Germeraad. 
    
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