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year, approximately 10,000 empty beds in a chain of fine hospitals simply be cause the Bureau of the Budget has been intent on reducing the quality of such medical care and of returning to the type of institutional medicine that was practiced prior to World War II.

3. No agency can secure the fullest measure of service from its employees when that agency is constantly beset by threats of, and the execution of, reductions in force. The Veterans' Administration has been bedeviled by such reductions; and it is sad to relate that the loss is in the most desirable types of professional employees who will not further serve under such a protracted spell of insecurity, unstable conditions, and lack of confidence in the future of the work they are employed to do.

There was a period following World War II when the regular procedures were not followed in selecting new employees in the Federal Government. Then these temporary employees created à problem when it became necessary to readjust personnel ceilings in the light of reductions in force.

Although this situation has been corrected by the fact that, in general, Federal employees take an examination before being placed on the job at this time, there still is a great difficulty in keeping highly technical and desirable employees on the force in any mass reductions. In such situations it is all too often the case that the professional personnel who have been secured on the basis of assignment to the jobs which are in line with their training lose interest in the job when it is apparent that the teams cannot be maintained to permit full use of their talents.

In the Veterans' Administration Department of Medicine and Surgery we have seen highly scarce doctors, nurses, dentists, and technicians leaving when reductions in force have made it necessary to cut off other grades of employees. The loss of the other types of employees does not permit the professional talent to function in the positions for which they were employed. Such reductions in force also create great fear of the instability of the VA program.

An example of what can be a demoralizing factor is found in the current effort of the Veterans' Administration to interpret the meaning of the recently issued letter by Budget Director Dodge putting a tight limit on the number of new employees who shall be selected and in the completion of construction jobs which make for the greater efficiency and use of the physical plant of the Veterans' Administration already in existence.

The current Dodge letter comes at an unfortunate time when the Veterans' Administration has already suffered one reduction in force after another as contrasted with other agencies where, in general, the number of employees has been increased rather than decreased. We think Congress should give special attention to the needs of the Veterans' Administration in such a situation. A general reduction in employment in the Federal Government should not be applied to the Veterans' Administration without close examination of the further demoralization that can come to employees with professional status who can see no prospect of a stabilized employment or program in the Veterans' Administration in the near or distant future.


The majority of the pertinent national convention and national executive committee rehabilitation resolutions calling for new legislative action have been covered in bills already presented. Some are being prepared for early presentation to the 83d Congress.

The purport of such legislation is discussed in the resolutions of our governing bodies which are attached to and made a part of this statement.

We believe this is a modest program which the American Legion is presenting to cover the authorization of Federal benefits. There is really nothing new being presented for the consideration of the 83d Congress.

Principally these bills ask that Congress liberalize the basis for service connection of certain chronic diseases; that Congress adjust certain disability compensation and pension rates; and that Congress establish parity for the award of death pensions to widows and orphans of deceased veterans of World War I, World War II, and the Korean conflict.


1. We believe the plan for administrative reorganization of the Veterans' Administration, as devised by the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs from the rec

ommendations of various investigating bodies and groups made during recent years, deserves the attention of all concerned and that, until this plan has been given an opportunity to prove its worth, contrary legislative reorganization plans should be given a holiday.

2. We believe a stabilized program for the operation of the VA Department of Medicine and Surgery is long overdue. It is inconsistent to have the Bureau of the Budget as the nonprofessional dominating control of the highly professional program of medicine and surgery. In this day there is no such thing as highquality cheap medicine.

3. There should be created a Federal Board of Hospitalization given enough authority to inform Congress and the executive branch of government when and where further hospitals should be built and the number and types of such hospitals. Such a Board should not be a superagency administering the medical and surgical programs of the Veterans' Administration or of any other Federal agency.

4. Keeping in mind that the cost of veterans' affairs has been reduced by 38 percent since 1947, while most other public and private costs have been increasing, realistic appraisals of the needs for stabilized employment programs in the Veterans' Administration should be made.

5. If specific phases of programs and specific employees of the VA do not live up to the promise of performance, then those programs and those employees should be specifically reexamined. The overall aura of distrust and suspicion should be replaced with one of confidence and security so that the disabled veteran and the dependents of those who have died in or following service for the Nation in the Armed Forces shall continue to get the compensatory awards Congress has provided for them.

6. The veterans of our wars of the 20th century have preserved our freedoms. They were set aside as a class when they were called for service. It is basic to us that such veterans are a special class and that they earned the special distinction of veteran during armed conflict in the military services.

7. We ask for a modest program of legislation to remove inequities in the present program of benefits to veterans and their dependents.

8. We ask for the funds that are necessary to operate the programs of benefits and services provided by Congress. It is inconsistent to construct hospital plants and then to deny operating funds for such hospitals so that there shall be approximately 10,000 unavailable beds while an average of 22,000 veterans is denied the use of beds in such hospitals. Such lack of funds to use hospitals already in being smacks of false economy.

Madam Chairman and members of the committee, that concludes my formal presentation of our views at this time. If there are questions that can be answered here, we shall be happy to have you present them.

You know already that our entire staff is ready and willing to work with you now and in the future.




Veterans' Administration, funds; Resolution 578, New York, 1952

Resolved, That the American Legion recommend to the Congress, the Bureau of the Budget, and the Veterans' Administration that there should be a stabilized program of requirements both as to funds and personnel in the VA upon which an understanding could be reached and action taken in ample time before the beginning of each fiscal year to assure continuity and development of the highest quality and quantity of service commensurate with workloads.

Veterans' Administration, protest curtailment of contact service funds; Resolution 88, New York 1952

Resolved, That we protest inost vigorously any elimination or curtailment of Veterans' Administration contact services or offices.

Veterans' Administration, protest cuts in funds; Resolution 404, New York, 1952 Resolved, That the American Legion protest the severe cut in appropriations for the Veterans' Administration and that such protest be forwarded to our elected officials on the national level.


High-standard Veterans' Administration medical service be continued, funds; Resolution 193, New York, 1952

Resolved, That the American Legion disapprove any legislation, pending or contemplated, which would curtail or eliminate the high standard of medical service now accorded to veterans, and that we recommend in the interest of economy and efficient administration that all appropriations limiting or curtailing the fine medical service accorded to veterans be reinstated, and we further recommend that all rights previously accorded to veterans be continued in full force and effect and be made available to the veterans of the Korean conflict. Federal Board of Hospitalization; Resolution 7, NEC, October 1952

Resolved, That the 83d Congress enact legislation to establish a Federal Board of Hospitalization cloaked with full authority to coordinate and assure efficient and complete utilization of Federal hospitals within and between the three agencies; viz, United States Veterans' Administration, United States Department of Defense, and United States Public Health Service.

Veterans' Administration Department of Medicine and Surgery, funds for; Resolution 25, NEC, October 1952

Resolved, That we urge the President immediately to authorize, through the Bureau of the Budget, the accelerated spending of appropriated funds to restore the temporary loss of services in the operation of the VA Department of Medicine and Surgery until the Congress can get a realistic picture of existing shortages and take corrective action to relieve the distressing plight faced by the sick veterans of our Nation.

Seeking appropriation of sufficient funds; Resolution 272, NEC, October 25, 1952 Seeking appropriation of sufficient funds to guarantee to disabled veterans those benefits previously provided by law and to assure that VA Department of Medicine and Surgery may continue present high standard of medical service. Hospitalization of veterans; Resolution 576, New York, 1952

Resolved, That the American Legion reaffirm its stand for the provision of medical and hospital care for those with service disablement, hospital care for veterans with disablements not adjudicated as due to service where such veterans cannot reasonably afford to pay for such care and treatment, and that such medical care and hospital treatment shall be provided by the VA; that the Congress should determine the number of beds to be provided in the VA; and that the national legislative commission be authorized to act to the end that there shall be no impairment of the care of the disabled veteran nor loss of his identity as a veteran in other groups of Federal beneficiaries.

Hospital beds, additional construction and funds; Resolution 518, New York, 1952 Resolved, That the Congress of the United States is hereby petitioned to enact legislation which will direct the Veterans' Administration to construct or provide a sufficient number of additional hospital beds for treatment and medical care to medically indigent veterans, including those veterans suffering the ravages of chronic diseases or disabilities regardless of service connection, including the aging veterans in the geriatric category.

Hospital beds for mental and TB cases, additional beds and funds; Resolution 274, New York, 1952

Resolved, That the American Legion present to the proper committees of Congress the urgent need for additional beds in order to properly care for our mentally ill, active TB cases, as well as proper care for the chronically ill veterans, so that veterans now being denied hospitalization because of lack of beds may be cared for by the VA in the future rather than being placed in charitable institutions in the local communities.

Resolution 99, New York, 1952

Resolved, That the American Legion urge continued efforts be made to secure additional Veterans' Administration hospital beds for war veterans, especially for mental and TB cases.

Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, funds; Resolution 479, New York, 1952

Resolved, That the American Legion does most vigorously protest the proposed program of the Veterans' Administration in reducing the number of beds allocated to VA in United States Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, from 400 to 0 by the end of the fourth quarter of the fiscal year; that we call upon our Senators and congressional committees, as well as the resources of the national organization, to maintain the 400 beds now in effect; and that the opening of the new VA hospital at 39th and Currie Avenue in Philadelphia be expedited to the greatest possible degree.

Hospital in Puerto Rico and funds; Resolution 455, New York, 1952

Resolved, That we strongly recommend the erection of a hospital and domiciliary home to meet the medical needs of approximately 100,000 veterans living in Puerto Rico and that copies of this resolution be sent to the President of the United States, to Members of Congress, and to the Administrator of the Veterans' Administration.

Veterans' Administration Medical Service, extension to veterans in foreign countries; Resolution 205, New York, 1952

Resolved, That the American Legion urge the amendment of the laws and regulations under which the VA operates so as to permit the extension of medical treatment and hospitalization by the VA, outside the United States, to veterans for service-connected disabilities, regardless of the nature of the residence, on the same basis as veterans residing in the United States providing such veterans retain their American citizenship while in the foreign countries in which they may be domiciled.

Outpatient treatment to retired personnel; Resolution 368, New York, 1952

Resolved, That existing law be amended so as to provide that retired personnel of the Armed Forces shall be entitled to outpatient or hospital treatment by the VA for service-connected disabilities which are determined by the VA to have been incurred in or aggravated by service, without being required to waive any part of their retirement pay.

Socialized medicine, oppose; Resolution 577, New York, 1952

Resolved, That the American Legion records its unalterable opposition to any sort of covenant which would bring about by international treaty or otherwise any type of socialized medicine.


Commercial insurance; Resolution 43, New York, 1952

Resolved, That we reiterate prior convention mandates seeking amendatory legislation to exclude commercial insurance in computing annual income for death pension purposes.

Judicial review; Resolution 89, New York, 1952

Resolved, That we seek amendment of section 602 (n) and (r) of the National Service Life Insurance Act of 1940, as amended, so as to assure the right of judicial review of any decision of the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs in suits brought under section 617 of said act.

Relieve liens on United States Government life insurance policies; Resolution 170, New York, 1952

Resolved, That we seek legislation to amend section 304 of the World War Veterans' Act of 1924, as amended, to reconstitute the liens on United States Government life-insurance contracts of service-connected disabled World War I veterans, which liens were established by virtue of provisions of that section, so that the principal sum shall be only the premiums due from the date of lapse to date of reinstatement and conversion, without interest, retroactively, and with simple interest prospectively at the rate established for policy loans.

Restore certain insurance rights; Resolution 269, New York, 1952

Resolved, That we seek amendatory legislation to restore rights removed by the Insurance Act of 1951 of insurable World War I veterans, who served between October 6, 1917, and July 2, 1921, to obtain new United States Government life-insurance contracts, and of insurable World War II veterans, who served between December 7, 1941, and September 2, 1945, to obtain new mutual national service life-insurance contracts.

Insurance suits, court costs; Resolution 8, NEC, October 1952

Resolved, That we take immediate steps to bring about an amendment of section 617, National Service Life Insurance Act of 1940, as amended, by modifying the provisions of section 500 of the World War Veterans' Act of 1924, as amended, so as to provide for the payment in a lump sum, direct to counsel, of a reasonable attorney's fee in a suit brought by or on behalf of an insured during his lifetime for waiver of premiums on account of total disability, such fee to be approved by the court and paid by the veteran in an unsuccessful action and paid by the Government where judgment is entered in the veteran's favor.


Retirement review boards; Resolution 555, New York, 1952

Resolved, That we seek legislation to amend section 302, Public Law 346, 78th Congress (the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944), as amended, to provide for consideration by a board of review of the findings and decisions of any board or official which resulted in discharge, retirement, or release from active military, naval, or air service of any commissioned or warrant officer or enlisted person, with physical disability, without retirement pay.


Eliminate subversive activities in VA education programs; Resolution 203, New York, 1952

Resolved, That we seek amendatory legislation of applicable veterans' laws to prevent known agitators and supporters of communistic principles and policies from taking advantage of sources of study abroad and to provide that, when such veterans studying abroad are discovered to be engaged in activities contrary to the interests of the United States, they be deprived of all rights deriving from their status of veterans with regard to studying abroad; also seek the removal from VA lists of approved institutions of study of foreign schools found to be harboring communistic activities.

Training entrance date extended for disabled veterans; Resolution 511, New York, 1952

Resolved, That we seek amendatory legislation to extend the date for entering education or training under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, as amended, so that the entrance date be extended for those who were so disabled prior to July 25, 1951, that they could not enter training until such time as their disabilities permit their entrance and that the ending date of training for such veterans be the period of their eligibility for such training.

Training entrance date extended for World War II veterans; Resolution 10, NEC, October, 1952

Resolved, That the Congress amend Public Law 346, 78th Congress, as amended, to provide that an eligible World War II veteran who reentered the Armed Forces prior to his delimiting date and before he had initiated a course may initiate training not later than 6 months after the date of discharge and that combined entitlement under Public Law 346, as amended, and Public Law 550 shall not exceed 48 months.

Tuition and subsistence allowances; Resolution 512, New York, 1952

Resolved, That we seek legislation to amend Public Law 550, 82d Congress, to provide that separate tuition and subsistence allowances be paid to veterans eligible for educational benefits, both payments to be made directly to the veteran, and to provide further that the tuition allowance shall be payable to each eligible veteran in the amount of the tuition charged similarly circumstanced students at the institution the veteran elects to attend, except that the tuition allowance in no instance shall exceed the rate of $360 per school year.

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