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ADMINISTRATION'S BUDGET FALLS SHORT, SAYS AMVETS

 ADMINISTRATION'S BUDGET FALLS SHORT, SAYS AMVETS
 WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Expressing concern that the


administration's FY93 budget reinforced the Department of Veterans Affairs budget shortages, AVMETS National Commander James L. Singler urged Congress not to forget America's promise to its veterans.
 In a prepared statement, Singler said: "AMVETS has repeatedly relayed our concerns to the administration and Congress over the lack of adequate funding for this nation's vets. The administration's budget continues to diminish the quality of and access to health care for these veterans.
 "Despite a nearly $1 billion increase in the Department of Veterans Affair's budget, the president's allocations fail to halt the erosion of care provided to our veterans," stated Singler, citing the administration's intention to cut full-time employee staffing at the Veterans Benefit Administration by 600 when only 23.6 percent of veteran's claims were being processed within 90 days at the end of FY91 -- as compared to 27.1 percent in FY90.
 "The VA's inability to meet its own standard of 35 percent highlights the need for major funding increases for the VA -- not just a reshuffle of the budget deck," added Singler.
 In addition, Singler noted some improvements in the president's budget, pointing to increases in full-time health care professionals, nursing care beds and funding for drug abuse treatment aS laudatory examples. However, at the same time Singler decried increases in co-payments or fees for prescription drugs, VA educational benefits, housing loans and for certain service connected veterans.
 In reference to the opening of VA medical centers to non-veterans, Singler, citing shortages in staff, supplies and equipment, as well as delays in prosthetic services and outpatient clinic appointments, stated that these shortcomings must be addressed before the VA considers opening its doors.
 Singler went on to say that his group and three others -- the Disabled American Veterans, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Veterans of Foreign Wars -- submit an "independent budget" to Congress every year, based on the actual needs of the nation's veteran population and what VA requires to meet those needs.
 -0- 2/3/92
 /CONTACT: Dick Flanagan, Anita DiGregory or Mike Brinck of AMVETS, 301-459-9600/ CO: AMVETS ST: District of Columbia IN: SU: EXE


TW-MK -- DC023 -- 6349 02/03/92 16:42 EST
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Date:Feb 3, 1992
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