Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Veterans Affairs Council defends its hospitals and care

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

The head of the Veterans Affairs Council yesterday voiced confidence in its ability to run Taipei Veterans General Hospital and its branches, one of the nation’s largest medical systems, amid calls to transfer the hospitals to other government agencies.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said the council did not have the capability to lead a medical facility and has failed to properly supervise Taipei Veterans General Hospital, thereby allowing a contractor to make illegal profits by using the hospital’s facilities.

In the case Tuan was referring to the hospital and the council received corrections from the Control Yuan.

Tuan said he would propose a bill to merge Taipei Veterans General Hospital with National Yang-Ming University under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, or put its medical centers in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung under the Ministry of Health and Welfare or other agencies.

Veterans Affairs Council Minister Lee Hsiang-jow (李翔宙) told a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee that he could not accept Tuan’s accusations or his reorganization proposals.

“By Tuan’s logic, the Tri-Service General Hospitals and armed forces general hospitals, run by the Ministry of National Defense, should be transferred to the health ministry,” Lee said.

“Such organizational changes would involve national development policies on a large scale. Reorganization should be deliberated over and complete planning is needed,” Lee said.

The council has offered senior health services to nursing homes run by the council, and while the council used to provide low-priced medical services only to veterans who had served for more than 10 years, such discounts are now available to all voluntary service personnel, regardless of length of service or rank, creating a medical safety net for military personnel, Lee said.

DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) questioned the minister about a council plan for the Taipei hospital to establish team to provide 24-hour medical service to veterans protesting the government’s pension reform plans outside the Legislative Yuan, which is a block from the National Taiwan University Hospital.

Lee said the plan was only on paper and has not been carried out.

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