V.A. PUGET SOUND HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
1660 S. Columbian Way
[PICKET ACROSS THE STREET FROM FACILITY]
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26TH
SEATTLE, WA. -- This week the V.A. Puget Sound Health Care facility joins a list of Veterans Affairs facilities across the country whose workers are protesting and educating the public about cuts in jobs and services that are compromising the medical care promised to our nation's veterans. The Seattle V.A. medical facility is operating, since March, at a deficit of $12 million.
Senator Patty Murray will join John Gage, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), in calling for mandatory funding for veterans' health care, which is currently a discretionary budget. Joining Gage will be AFGE National Vice President Gerald Swanke.
According to a newly released report from the Harvard/Cambridge Hospital Study Group on uninsured veterans, as of 2003, nearly 1.7 million honorably-discharged veterans neither had health insurance nor received ongoing care at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals or clinics.
Workers at other facilities have also expressed deep concerns regarding the lack of adequate funding for V.A. medical care. On Monday, October 25th, workers at the Portland V.A. Medical Center in Oregon will receive Gage and Swanke to hear the national officers speak on "Shortchanging Our Veterans." The Portland facility recently received unwelcome attention when it cancelled some 100 non-elective surgical procedures due to funding problems.