Poplar Bluff Veterans Hospital to Host "Town Hall" Meeting Today to Discuss VA Budget Woes

MAY 23, 2005 - Posted at 7:28 a.m. CDT

POPLAR BLUFF, MO - Veterans Administration nurses and staff at the Poplar Bluff VA Medical Center will hold a town hall meeting on the poor budget prognosis for the veteran's care system and the challenges that will result in ensuring that veterans continue to receive adequate care.  The meeting begins at 4:30 this afternoon in Building 1, Room 5005 of the facility.

John Gage, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the union representing VA staff across the nation, will be on hand to take questions and provide information on national trends.

Luann Holst, president of AFGE Local 2338, which represents workers at the Poplar Bluff facility, said staff is concerned about the direction the Department of Veterans Affairs is moving with respect to cutting services in the face an inadequate budget.  Holst noted that the VA is at the forefront of telecare, the capability of providing diagnosis and remote monitoring, and that the Poplar Bluff facility utilizes these new capabilities extensively.  Yet Holst quickly pointed out the limiations of telecare.

"Telecare just won't work when a veteran needs to be hospitalized.  Seriously sick veterans belong in a hospital, with constant monitoring and health professionals just seconds away," said Holst.  "The VA has evaluated our inpatient units at least three times.  It's time to quit trying to cut this essesential capability of providing care for our veterans."