Thursday, Dec 12, 2013
Services Still Available Despite Goverment Shutdown
WSIL -- It's business as usual for the Veteran's Affairs Hospital in Marion. Hospital officials say patients will continue to receive care despite the government shutdown.
The VA's outpatient clinics and vet centers will also stay open. These federally facilities are not impacted by the shutdown because they are fully financed through the Veterans Health Administration.
"We are open for business, and we are here to take care of veterans," said spokesperson Laura Schafsnitz. "You can still come to the VA and have your appointments, go to the doctor, see your primary care physician, see your specialist, see your mental health provider."
Nearly 43,000 veterans in the region will still receive their healthcare, but the shutdown may increase the wait time for the backlog of disability claims.
"I think a lot of processes are going to take some extra time, but in the meantime you are not going to lose any of the medical benefits and the healthcare benefits," said Schafsnitz.
The government shutdown may impact low-income mothers and their infants by the end of the month. The federally funded Women, Infant and Children program provides medical care, counseling and food vouchers for new mothers.
"It is helping them feed their children and helping them have healthy pregnancies and healthy outcomes," said Jackson County Health Department's Miriam Mullison.
Fifteen-hundred patients depend on the WIC program in Jackson County alone.
"We are going to be more impacted than other parts of the state because more of our pregnant women and more of our babies are low income," explained Mullison.
Reserved funds will allow many Illinois county WIC clinics to continue to provide care for their patients for a few more weeks. If the federal money runs out, it would be up to the state to continue funding the WIC program.
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