Monday, October 29, 2007

VA Hospitals Forced To Turn Away Patients

Army Times

"ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Two Tampa Bay veterans hospitals turn away critically ill patients for huge chunks of the year because of an overloaded veterans’ health care system.
James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa and Bay Pines VA Medical Center in St. Petersburg are the nation’s busiest and fourth-busiest Veterans Affairs hospitals, respectively.
Haley has been on “divert” status for critical patients 27 percent of the time since Jan. 1, 2006, or the equivalent of about 170 days, VA figures reviewed by the St. Petersburg Times show. The hospital diverts all patients regardless of condition 16 percent of the time.
Since 2000, Bay Pines has diverted patients far more frequently than any other hospital in Pinellas County. Last year, it diverted veterans during 1,150 hours about 48 days, or 13 percent of the time, Pinellas paramedic records show.
“There’s no intent to deny veterans care,” said Dr. George Van Buskirk, chief of staff at Bay Pines. “I like to think we’re as compassionate as possible. We’d rather send them out to a place that can take care of them than have them languish on a gurney in the hallway.”
But some question the VA’s resources.
“The VA has never dealt with its capacity issues seriously,” said Bill Geden, district director in west-central Florida for the Blinded Veterans Association. “They’re underfunded, undermanned and overloaded.


"The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already cost the United States $602 billion, and they are likely to cost as much as $1.7 trillion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports.
And since the war so far has been financed with borrowed money — since 2002 the war costs and other federal expenditures have exceeded federal revenues — interest payments on that debt will add at least $415 billion, and possibly $705 billion to war costs by 2017, the CBO reported to the House Budget Committee on Oct. 24.
In all, the wars could cost $2.4 trillion by 2017, the CBO said."

Halliburton Muscles Into Strong Earnings

"For the period, the company reached a profit of $727 million, or $0.79 per share, compared to $611 million, or $0.58 a share, in the third quarter of 2006."


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