Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 24, 2007

Inadequate funding
is the real VA issue
In light of negative letters and articles about the services to veterans at the W.G. Bill Hefner VA Medical Center, I can no longer remain quiet.
I am a Vietnam veteran, and I have been a patient of the VA since 1972. I have been a patient at the Durham, Asheville and Salisbury medical centers. I have been at the Salisbury VA Medical Center since 1997 as an inpatient and numerous outpatient surgeries. I receive all my outpatient care at this wonderful facility.
My quality of life has improved very much in the past several years, all because of the quality of care given to me at the Salisbury Medical Center. I believe at last report, we are second in the nation for outpatients seen at this VA Medical Center, which has new clinics and new high technology equipment to care for me and my fellow veterans. We also have a dedicated womens clinic for our lady veterans to receive specialized care.
The biggest problem with our VA medical centers is not enough funding to operate them. The Salisbury facility is more than 50 years old. For years, our medical centers have had to work a straight line budget, with no extra for the increase in veterans seeking medical services. It seems to me that our politicians could get with the program and help with the funding needed to meet the demands of our nations veterans.
In closing, I want to address one last point concerning bonuses. Lets set the record straight.
These are incentive bonuses, and most good businesses provide these for those that are doing a great job.
If I worked for a company that did not give bonuses and merit raises for those that are doing a great job, I would have sought another job.
James D. Luther, (USMC, retired)