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THE AMERICAN LEGION COMMENTS ON THE MOVIE 'ARTICLE 99,' WHICH IS CRITICAL OF THE VA MEDICAL SYSTEM

 THE AMERICAN LEGION COMMENTS ON THE MOVIE 'ARTICLE 99,'
 WHICH IS CRITICAL OF THE VA MEDICAL SYSTEM
 WASHINGTON, March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- "'Article 99,' the new movie centered around a Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in the Midwest, is a parody of the situation that exists within the VA," according to John Sommer, executive director of The American Legion's Washington office. Sommer attended a special preview of "Article 99" on Feb. 26, the proceeds of which went to the National Homeless Veterans Coalition Service Providers.
 The movie, scheduled for national release on Friday, March 13, focuses primarily on a surgical team operating outside the bureaucratic web of eligibility criteria in order to provide needed surgery to what appears to be deserving veterans. All the while, the surgeons are acting in conflict with an inflexible medical center director.
 "Much of the movie is humorous, some parts are serious, but there is actually a fine line between what is and what could be," Sommer said, referring to the chronic funding shortfalls that have beset the VA medical care system over the past several years.
 "Comparisons may certainly be drawn between 'Article 99' and the situation as it exists with respect to negative employee morale, equipment shortages and the inability to treat certain veterans because of budget-driven eligibility criteria," Sommer concluded.
 The American Legion is the nation's largest veterans organization with over 3 million members, 1 million of whom are Vietnam veterans. A current priority of the Legion is to secure additional funding for the VA medical care program through the congressional budget and appropriations process.
 -0- 3/12/92
 /CONTACT: John Sommer of the American Legion, 202-861-2711/ CO: American Legion ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


SB-MH -- DC013 -- 7739 03/12/92 11:28 EST
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Date:Mar 12, 1992
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