The Department of Veterans Affairs may have to shut down some hospitals in August if Congress does not address a $2.5 billion shortfall for the current budget year. The agency is also considering furloughs, hiring freezes and other steps to close a funding gap for the budget year that ends Sept. 30. VA said it wants authority to use up to $3 billion from the new Veterans Choice program to close the budget gap, with as much as $500 million going to treat hepatitis C. The new Choice program makes it easier for veterans to receive federally paid medical care from local doctors. The following related documents that were sent to Congress are available here: Signed letter to Congress at www.va.gov/budget/docs/signed_letters_to_congress.pdf, Putting Veterans First: Legislative Request at www.va.gov/budget/docs/plan_cover_table_of_contents.pdf, Draft Legislation at www.va.gov/budget/docs/draft_legislation.pdf, Choice Act Obligations at www.va.gov/budget/docs/hepatitis_c_treatment_summary.pptx, Care in Community Overview at www.va.gov/budget/docs/va_care_in_the_community_overview.pptx, and Hepatitis C Treatment Summary at www.va.gov/budget/docs/choice_act_obligations.xlsx.
For more on veteran benefits, visit the Military.com Benefits Center. For more on legislation that affects the military, and to contact your local representatives, visit the Military.com Legislative Center.