Paralyzed Veterans of America Congressional Testimony: Protect VA Heath Care from Politics

Mar 30, 2011, 11:50 ET from Paralyzed Veterans of America

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) National President Bill Lawson urged Congressional leaders to protect Department of Veterans Affairs heath care from politics.

"Without a doubt, the Department of Veterans Affairs is the most effective health-care provider for veterans. The VA's specialized services, including its system of spinal cord injury (SCI) care, are incomparable resources that are not duplicated in the private sector.  These services are being threatened by proposed cost-cutting measures, the drive toward so-called 'management efficiencies' and, unfortunately, through politics," Lawson told lawmakers.

In oral and written testimony before the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees, Lawson drew lawmakers' attention to the need to immediately address the:

  • Critical health-care staff shortages, especially nurses. Paralyzed Veterans estimates that nursing personnel delivering care at the bedside was 140 nurses below the minimum requirement.
  • Staff shortages leading to fewer beds. Paralyzed Veterans estimates that shortages in nurses, physicians, psychologists, social workers and therapists throughout the system means there were 288 unavailable SCI beds throughout the system.
  • Lack of long-term-care services for veterans with spinal cord injury and dysfunction—with no SCI specialized long-term-care beds west of the Mississippi and only 150 beds in the entire system (or an average of only three SCI long-term-care beds per state).

Lawson also focused on the recommendations contained in The Independent Budget (IB) for Fiscal Year 2012—an annual comprehensive budget and policy document, by veterans for veterans.  Now in its 25th year, the IB recommended $55 billion for health care, $620 million for medical and prosthetic research, $2.3 billion for benefits processing and $2.8 billion for major and minor construction.  Congress now has the opportunity to implement these recommendations that are designed to fully meet the needs of our nation's veterans.

Paralyzed Veterans of America ("Paralyzed Veterans") was founded by a group of seriously injured heroes from the "Greatest Generation" of World War II. They created the organization to meet the challenges they faced head-on—from a medical community not ready to treat them to an inaccessible world. For 65 years, Paralyzed Veterans national office and 34 chapters across the nation have been making America a better place for all veterans and people with disabilities. (

SOURCE Paralyzed Veterans of America