UNION OF AMERICAN PHYSICIANS AND DENTISTS PROTESTS PHYSICAN LAYOFFS AND PLANNED UNIT CLOSURE AT YOUNTVILLE VETERANS' HOME
by Robert L. Weinmann, MD
In a masterpiece of timing just before Memorial Day, staff and residents of the Yountville Veterans' Home were told that the California Department of Veterans' Affairs is closing the acute care unit of the home's Holderman Hospital. Layoff notices have been sent.
1,100 veterans who reside at the home are being ignored as though they didn't exist, like battle-worn boots that saw their best days at Bastogne, or maybe somewhere in Korea or Vietnam. Eight layoff notices were received by doctors represented by the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD). Yountville's Home Administration office explained that the state needs to save money. Evidently, slicing medical care from veterans is California's preferred choice.
Stuart A. Bussey, MD, JD, president of the UAPD, declared that the California Veterans Affairs Department (CVDA) "is using the budget cuts as an excuse to close down this acute care unit and cut other medical servces, which it has wanted to do for a long time."
Bussey stated that the Yountville facility "is one of the largest groups of veterans in the country, and they need the care that this unit and these physicians provide." Bussey pointed out that providing equivalent care off-site will increase costs and that the premature layoffs are a thinly disguised method of unit closure before the actual closure.
This action by the state reportedly will save California about $4,000,000 in staff time. No mention was made about the $11,000,000 annual lost reimbursement to the state. No mention was made about the shoddy treatment shoved down the throats of America's veterans. No mention was made of the shame this move bestows on California.
The UAPD states that the CDVA is not following proper procedures such as allowing community involvement and advises concerned citizens to register protests with state legislators.
Politicsofhealthcare.blogspot.com points out that the State of California, simultaneously with this cutback to veterans, panders to the insurance industry and willingly foregoes fees that could be paid by out-of-state utilization review doctors (see stories about AB 933, Fong) to the benefit of California's coffer.
source: UAPD press release, 5/28/09, firstname.lastname@example.org