Among the many projects
OFFE volunteers have been working on is a resolution which calls for mandatory funding for veterans’ healthcare. Contrary
to popular belief, the Department of Veterans Affairs receives only discretionary funding from the Department of Defense annual
budget. Many veterans’ advocates see this as the primary reason the VA health care system cannot keep pace with the
fluctuating number of eligible veterans enrolling in the system, and the rising cost of healthcare. Mandatory funding would
put veterans funding in a budget category by itself and would solve many of the understaffing problems the VA now faces.
year, the funding issue made it to the Senate floor. On March 16, 2006,
the United States Senate voted down mandatory funding for veterans’ healthcare services (Ref: Stabenow
Amendment No. 3141),which would have insured full mandatory funding for veterans’ healthcare needs. The final vote was
YEA 46 / NAY 54. Evidently, 46 Senators thought is was a worthy idea and voted for the Amendment..
combat disabled veteran Gene Simes is National Chairman for OFFE. “Think about it. 8 Senators stood in the way of legislation
that would have served over 25 million veterans. That is totally unacceptable,” Sime said in a recent FBN telephone
interview. “The vote was right down party lines. These Senators are playing political football with the healthcare earned
by our veterans,” Simes added.
OFFE Public Relations
Director Jere Beery weighted in on the matter this way, “Our military has artillery shells that cost over $250.00 each.
Our current President has pledged 500 billion dollars for Mars exploration. We send billions overseas for aid to foreign countries
that don’t even like us. And we have VA hospital emergency rooms closing at
in the afternoon? Give me a break. The time has come for the America
people to voice their support for full mandatory funding of VA system. Our former military personnel deserve nothing less,”
Simes and Beery are
asking everyone to support full mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. “We want everyone reading
this article to print the Resolution out, sign it, and send it in,” Sime said. “Take it to work and have your
company and co-workers sign a copy. Take it to church, or union meeting, or high school, or your city council, or the governor
of your state, VFW Post or DAV chapter. This issue belongs to every red blooded American,” Simes said.
OFFE is attempting
to get the mandatory funding issue on the 2008 national election ballets. The more signed resolutions they can disturb and
collect the better the chances the American people will determine this issue.
Operation Firing For Effect (OFFE) is subsidiary of Veterans For Veteran Connection a
registered 501-3C non-profit organization home based in Rochester, New York.
OFFE is devoted to protecting and improving the healthcare service for our former military personnel and their families. Operation
Firing For Effect has representatives and members in many states nationwide. For more information, contact Gene Simes (315)986-7322).
Mandatory Funding for Veterans’ Healthcare Services
Dental and Mental Health)
Whereas,the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) mission and motto is, “to care for him who has borne the battle,
and for his widow and orphan”; and
Whereas,PresidentGeorge Washington stated, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in
any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportionate to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated
and appreciated by their country”; and
Whereas,whenever the United States military has ever been called upon to send forces into harms way, including sons and daughters
of our great County of _______________, in the State of ____________________ , they have proudly answered the call; and
as citizens of the United States of America, have promised our troops through military enlistment contracts comprehensive
quality accessible healthcare for those veterans honorably discharged from The United States military past, present and future;
Whereas,thelegislative bodies of our government at all levels have recognized the importance of supporting those who
serve our great country, legislation itself has fallen short of meeting the healthcare needs of our veterans. The current
discretionary funding mechanisms for veterans healthcare is beset by numerous flaws preventing many veterans from receiving
the quality healthcare they earned and deserve; and
Whereas,on March 16, 2006, the United States Senate voted down mandatory
funding for veterans’ healthcare services (Ref: Stabenow Amendment No. 3141),which
would have insured mandatory funding for our veterans’ healthcare needs (YEA 46 / NAY 54); and
Whereas, a Government Accountability
Office (GAO) report in 2005 highlighted the lack of resources experienced by the Veterans Administration and its understaffed
workforce as they attempt to process an increasing backlog of our veterans claims; and
of Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi has publicly stated the Department of Veterans Affairs has been struggling
to provide promised healthcare services to the rapidly rising number of veterans requiring healthcare services;
Therefore be it resolved,as proud citizens of this great nation we fully support mandatory funding for veterans’
healthcare services; and
Therefore be it further resolved,the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate move to ensure that
these healthcare obligations to our veterans be recognized and legislation be introduced and passed for signing by the President
of the United States of America to guarantee full mandatory funding of veterans’ healthcare services; and
Therefore be it further resolved, that a suitable copy of this resolution be prepared and presented
to the President of the United States, members of the United
States Congress and members of the United States Senate.
(Please include this footnote on all copies! This
Resolution was authored on (11/11/06) by Operation Firing for Effect, (OFFE). You are encouraged to duplicate and distribute this document to all
interested parties and elected officials. Send all notarized copies of this Resolution to; OFFE, 1700 Waterford Road,
Rochester, NY14568. Direct all questions to OFFE National Chairman, Gene Simes, (315)986-7322)
Having a Medical Emergency? Do not go to a VA Hospital!
One might think that if they were have a medical emergency requiring immediate attention, ‘a
hospital’ would be the first place to go. However, according to Gene Simes of Operation Firing For Effect (OFFE), this
may be the last place you should go.
OFFE is a non-profit veteran’s advocacy group headquartered in Rochester, New York. Over the past year OFFE has been monitoring
a number of incidences where veterans have been turned away from VA hospital emergency rooms. In at least two of these cases
the veteran has died.
On September 30th of this year, 83 year old veteran Clinton L. Fuller was very ill and in need of emergency
medical care. Fuller’s minister and dear friend Rev. Eugene Singleton drove him to the Spokane, WashingtonVA hospital. It was a trip the two men had taken
many times in the past, as Fuller was a registered patient at the UrgentCareCenter and was receiving treatment from this
particular VA medical facility. In a FBN telephone interview, Rev. Singleton said his friend slumped
over onto his shoulder on the way to the VA, and he couldn't wake him. The two men arrived at the VA hospital about 4:35 p.m.
Singleton ran into the VA urgent care center and yelled for help before returning with a wheelchair for his friend Fuller.
A VA security guard came outside and said the center closed at , but 911 had been called. According to Singleton, there were still patients waiting to be seen by doctors in the main
waiting room. “There is no doubt in my mind that there were doctors in the building,” Singleton said. "This man
who fought three wars was dying in front of the VA Hospital, and no one inside would help. I thought a professional person,
no matter who you are, who has taken an oath to save lives, would help. But, no one lifted a finger to help Deacon Fuller,”
Medically, the patient (Fuller) was handled appropriately, said Joe Manley, director of
the VA center, which had stopped offering nighttime care and was now closing at "The patient arrived at our facility in respiratory
distress," he said. "The most skilled people we had went out to the patient, but you have to have the professional equipment
to do the work. The procedure Fuller needed would have required a tube being put down his throat to help him breathe,”
Manley explained. The timing, he claimed, had nothing to do with Fuller not being helped by VA staff. "Calling the fire department
was quicker than getting equipment and bringing it back out or finding someone who could offer the medical assistance," he
Paramedics arrived within about 13 minutes according to Rev. Singleton. Clinton
Fuller was transported to Deaconess Medical Center, where he died an hour and 10 minutes after collapsing. “You have
to understand, I had Brother Fuller at the front door of the VA and they refused to take him into the hospital and help him,”
Singleton told the FBN.
The SpokaneVA hospital, which underwent a $3.2 million expansion in 2005, eliminated the urgent care
center's nighttime hours in July. Hospital officials said very few patients visited after According to Rev. Singleton, they had no idea the hospital would be closed.
Veteran’s rights advocate Gene Simes of OFFE said he is hearing more
and more incidents where VA hospitals are refusing to treat patients under emergency conditions. Simes told the FBN that he
feared years of budget cuts were now trickling down and adversely affecting emergency care offered by VA hospitals. “I
would like everyone reading this article to imagine going to a hospital emergency room and be told it was closed,” Simes
On April 24th of this year, 70 year old Korean War veteran Kenneth Baze arrived
at the SpokaneVA
hospital in severe pain and extremely low blood pressure. Once again the VA refused to see him. According to Mrs. Trina Baze
they returned home hoping her husband’s condition would improve. However, about two hours later Mr. Baze collapsed and
was rushed to HolyFamilyHospital where he died from complications from an undetected aortic
aneurysm. “The woman receptionist at the VA was very rude,” Mrs. Baze said. “I told the lady that my husband’s
blood pressure was 70/40! What do we do? The receptionist said; ‘We’re to busy to see you right now, you need
to come back tomorrow’,” Mrs. Baze stated.
In August, in another incident at the very same VA UrgentCareCenter / Hospital, 72 year old Korean veteran, Leonard Kissner was refused medical care., Kissner
fell unconscious in the SpokaneVA
urgent care center’s parking lot and was denied admittance into the VA hospital. However, this time Leonard Kissner
lived to tell about it. “I needed immediate medical care and they had no one to take for me,” Kissner told a local
In yet another VA Spokane Hospital incident this year alone, 81 year old World War II veteran
Lewis Pancoast was vomiting and in severe pain when he was turned away from medical treatment. The reason, he arrived after
the hospital had closed. “The receptionist there put up her hands and said; “No, you can’t come in. You
can’t get in here. You’ve got to go somewhere else,” recalled Pancoast. The ailing veteran then went to
HolyFamilyHospital where he was hospitalized and treated for an inflamed hernia.
These incidents have sent a chill through veterans all over the country. Many see this
as a sign that the VA will be getting out of the medical care business all together. In fact, earlier this year the VA announced
a list of 18 VA medical facilities that are scheduled to be closed in the very near future. “Our organization, OFFE
is currently involved in efforts to keep Canandaigua, New York VA Hospital open,” Sime stated.
Simes stated he is very concerned by the growing number of veterans being denied emergency
medical treatment. “Spokane VA hospital may be the focal point of this article, however, the Department of Veterans
Affairs in a national healthcare service provider,” Simes pointed out. “Whatever policies are used in Spokane can surface at any VA hospital in the country,” Simes said. “These issues
dramatically illustrate the need for mandatory and full funding the VA health care system. When we have hospital emergency
rooms that close their doors at in the afternoon
- something is very wrong,” Simes added. “Although I hesitate to say anything that may discourage veterans from
going to a VA hospital for needed medical care, I feel a moral obligation to warn my fellow veterans. My best suggestion at
this time is; do not go to a VA hospital if you have a medical emergency. Instead, call 911,” Simes concluded.
Telephone recordings at all VA medical centers support Gene Simes warning.
If you call any VA hospital in the country you will hear; ‘If you have a medical emergency, please hang up and dial
The FBN would like to hear from you concerning this article. Please send your comments to Rick Townsend