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to California, even though we admitted there was greater need for it in California. At the same time, we have a ceiling of 131,000 beds.

Mr. PHILLIPS. But I do not find you making any very serious efforts to increase that ceiling so as to take care of the veterans where they are now. You may have on a piece of paper 131,000 beds, but when you have a sick veteran in California, or a tubercular veteran, or an NP veteran, we are not going to ship him down to my friend's State of Alabama because you have an empty bed down there.

Mr. CLARK. No. And that presents a real problem, particularly among nonservice cases.

Mr. Phillips. My criticism, if any, is directed to the fact that I cannot see, either by observation or consultation, that the Veterans' Administration is doing anything about it. I am suggesting, now that the Census figures support what we have been telling you for the last 2 years, that maybe you ought to do something about it, which I personally think you should. If you are stuck with hospitals at places where the veterans are not, instead of saying "It is not our fault; we cannot do anything about it,” why do not you try to readjust the situation and put the hospitals and places for the care of veterans where the veterans are?

I do not think you need to worry about being too careful to compute the population of veterans, because I regret very much to say I think you are going to have some more veterans pretty soon, 50 percent of whom will retire in California.

Mr. MOORE. Or Florida.

Mr. PHILLIPS. Or Florida; yes. I yield to my Florida friend, Mr. Moore.

It is quite troublesome to us who are Californians not only not to have the hospitals but not to have any evidence of effort on the part of the Veterans’ Administration to be doing any more than you just indicated a moment ago—to say “It is not our fault. There is a limit of 131,000 beds." That was set over at the White House, and I think you are closer to the White House than we are—16 squares away.

Mr. Clark. I did not mean it in that way. I think perhaps the location of some of our hospitals was made without giving serious consideration to the planning.

Mr. PHILLIPS. We are responsible for some of that.

Mr. CLARK. I am sure this whole hospital program will have to be reviewed and resurveyed and some changes made in future plans to take care of the load, not only because of the war we are facing at the present time but without that war.

Mr. PHILLIPS. Without extending this discussion, we can only hope you do it before the next load arrives.

Mr. CLARK. Yes.

ADMONITION TO CLOSE NO HOSPITAL BEDS WITHOUT FIRST CONSULTING

COMMITTEE

Mr. Thomas. Dr. Press, this $8,225,000 you request is for 11,000 new hospital beds to come into existence this year; is that correct?

Dr. PRESS. That is right.
Mr. Thomas. What about your existing beds?

Dr. Press. It leaves in effect the r. i. f. we put in effect last spring and have carried on. The chairman will remember that in June we got a $2,000,000 supplemental which was for the purpose of postponing that r. i. f. There is no comparable amount in this supplemental to pay for the personnel retained through June 30 with that $2,000,000, and we will bave to finish up on the r. i. f. we started last year,

Mr. Thomas. What do you mean by “r. i. f.”?

Dr. Press. Reduction in force to get people off the rolls. Thət will result in freezing employment at about its present level, which will result in restricting admissions to hospitals already being operated, and some closing of beds in those hospitals.

Mr. Thomas. How many beds will you have to close?

Dr. Press. It is a problem, because the type of bed we can close the easiest is the G. M. & S. bed. Those are the ones which are now available, because during the summer the G. M. & S. bed occupancy usually drops off. Now, we can close those beds, but that does not bail us out. We have to close some NP and TB beds because of lack of staff, and it is going to be a considerable problem. That is why I hate to give you an estimate now. We will have to shift some staff from G. M. & S. beds to NP and TB beds because the patients are already there and we have to take care of them, but several thousand beds can be involved potentially in this thing.

Mr. Thomas. You say "potentially???

Dr. Press. The exact number would depend on what proportion of the NP, TB, and G. M. & S. beds we close.

Mr. CLARK. I think I ought to tell you at this point that the Armed Forces have requested us or asked us how many men we can accommodate in our facilities as a result of the fighting in Korea, and what that number will be or how it will affect the veterans' population of these hospitals remains to be seen. We can, on a reimbursable basis, take care of a limited number.

Mr. Thomas. Well, the Army and Navy facilities are not filled by any means are they?—and why should they be coming to the Veterans' Administration at this early date?

Mr. CLARK. They have come to see what we could do in case the necessity should arise.

Mr. Thomas. Well, that is just exploratory; that does not mean their facilities are filled by any means.

We do not want you to close any of your needed beds, Dr. Press. We suggest to you that you operate as economically as you can your needed beds and that 30 days before you have to close any beds, if you do, you report back to the committee and let us take a look-see with you along with your staff, before any of those useful beds are closed. That is not an invitation to you to do some things that perhaps the Bureau of the Budget has suggested that you not do, but it is telling you not to close any of your useful beds until you come back here and let us take a look-see. It would be well to give us at least 2 weeks' or 3 weeks' notice.

Mr. CLARK. We appreciate that statement.

Mr. PHILLIPS. I am not yet sold on, or do not understand this r. i. f. I do not see why you are still struggling with that. I understood it was based, in effect at least, on the figures which you submitted to this committee in the last justification.

Mr. Moore. That only carried us to June 30 for that personnel, and we have not made any provision in the 1951 bill to continue to carry this personnel.

Mr. PHILLIPS. Dr. Press is now talking about the 1951 bill?
Mr. MOORE. Yes, sir.

Mr. Thomas. If there are no further questions, thank you, gentlemen, a million times for your courtesy.

Mr. CLARK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee.

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