New surge in medical costs prompting VA to ask for 20% budget boost

Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 7:42 PM CST
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - The VA and other veterans organizations have proposed a 20% increase to next year’s VA fiscal budget to cover for a new surge in medical costs.

Army Veteran Jeremy Fay says he and thousands of other veterans have had a majority of their appointments pushed to a virtual format during the COVID pandemic, leaving many to stop going to the doctor completely until they were able to return in person.

“As a veteran myself, a lot of my care was moved to virtual sessions,” he said.

“So, I had some issues I had to delay treatment on. Thankfully, mine are not so severe that they got progressively worse.”

Unfortunately, many veterans with medical issues or disabilities from their service have progressively gotten worse.

“These are the types of people that need near continual care and unfortunately, the situation over the last couple of years has not provided a situation that allows that,” Fay said.

Now that many are ready to go back to the doctor, the many veterans organizations are asking for an increase to the VA’s 2023 fiscal budget.

Texas A&M Central Texas Nursing Director Amy Mersiovsky says while medical care is desperately needed for these veterans, any increase in hospital budgets can be a daunting task.

“It can be really hard because there’s only so much money,” she said.

“There’s so many things to work on. You need the technology, you need the buildings, you need the staff, you need to be doing research and that’s all expensive. With the pandemic, we all know the price of everything has gone up. So, hospitals are looking any way they can to stretch the dollars any way they can.”

While it is uncertain if an increase can be made, Congressman Pete Sessions claims this issue is mostly due to the Biden administration’s unwillingness to get more veterans in-person care during the pandemic and adds continual care should always remain a priority.

“What I think we need is perhaps more money, but an alliance of authority and openness by this government to do their job,” he said.

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