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June 25, 2014
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Letter: Look at the Roseburg VA Medical Center's history since the 1990s to predict future services

Will VA close inpatient care?

I’ve noticed that the only time The News-Review puts any effort into a veteran’s story is when it’s printing an obituary. I recently spoke at the Douglas County Veterans Forum and informed its members that when the new surgical clinic is finished in Eugene, the inpatient hospital in Roseburg will be closed. I was told I was in error, that the director herself had assured them she wouldn’t close the inpatient beds at the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

I’m retired from the VA, where I worked as a registered nurse in the medical/surgical unit. I watched the VA systematically destroy the hospital over the last 25 years. There were 75 third floor intermediate beds; today there are zero. Forty-four were on the fourth floor. Today, zero. Forty-eight were were on the fifth floor. Today, 9.

In the 1990s, I was asked to help downsize the VA because 1,000 World War II vets were dying every day. We needed to determine the best places to make cuts and still deliver good care.

I took the task to heart, did the research, and discovered the impact on the VA of those 1,000 daily dead was 333. Only one in three WWII vets sought VA care, but more interesting was that the Vietnam vets were coming of age at a rate of 1,400 a day and one in two were seeking VA care. That made a daily increase of 367 veterans. I took my findings to the committee and pointed out that we needed to be expanding our services. Their response was my prompt removal from the committee; the hospital eliminated more than 200 beds.

They never intended to give Vietnam veterans quality care. When you compare body counts, Veterans Affairs to Viet Cong, the VA wins by a margin of 2,000 percent.

David Vincent


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The News-Review Updated Jun 25, 2014 12:06PM Published Jun 30, 2014 11:30AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.