An increase in funding
Back in October 2009, we reported on the status of President Obama's efforts to expand the number of Veterans Administration Centers of Excellence. Part of the VA's Health Services Research and Development Service, the centers focus on "an array of important health care topics such as quality of care, chronic diseases, primary care, mental health, substance abuse, pain management, and outcomes research," according to the VA website.
At the time, we rated the promise In the Works, since Congress was in the midst of voting on the proposed 2010 budget, which would increase funding for medical and prosthetic research.
On December 16, 2009, President Obama signed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act into law. According to a summary of the key provisions of the bill, Congress ended up appropriating $581 million for "for research in a number of areas including mental health, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, burn injury, polytrauma injuries, and sensory loss." That's a $71 million increase from 2009. Congress also provided up to $5 million for the Graduate Psychology Education Program to support increased training of psychologists skilled in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and related disorders.
By now, the White House has released its 2011 budget proposal, so we thought we'd take a look. According to a fact sheet prepared by the Office of Management and Budget, the budget would provide $590 million for medical care and prosthetic research, a $9 million increase over the 2010 level.
President Obama's 2010 budget increased medical research funding by more than $70 million. The 2011 budget proposes a $9 million increase.
The White House, Bills Signed by the President, December 16, 2009.
Committees on Appropriations, FY 2010 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Consolidated Appropriations Bill, Dec. 8, 2009.
Office of Management and Budget, 2011 VA budget summary, accessed May 14, 2010.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, HSR&D website, accessed May 14, 2010.
Proposed White House 2010 budget funds new centers
The Obama administration's proposed 2010 budget outlines a plan to increase funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs by $25 billion over the next five years, starting with an 11 percent increase in discretionary funding next year.
According to a fact sheet prepared by the White House Office of Management and Budget, the president's Veterans Affairs budget "enables VA to create Centers of Excellence and provides additional veteran-oriented specialty care in areas including prosthetics, vision and spinal cord injury, aging, and women"s health."
A more detailed version of the president's proposed budget shows a nearly 14 percent increase in funding for medical and prosthetic research next year. The budget also earmarks up to $5 million for the Graduate Psychology Education Program, which includes treatment of veterans, to support increased training of psychologists skilled in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and related disorders.
And the economic stimulus plan approved in February included $150 million for the construction of state extended-care facilities, including nursing homes, for veterans.
White House Office of Management and Budget, "President's Budget Fact Sheets: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs"
White House Web site, President Obama's Proposed 2010 Department of Veterans Affairs Budget