VA Hospital sees minimal impact from government shutdown

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - More than 13,000 veterans don't have to worry about losing their VA services because of the government shutdown.

More federal agencies are being negatively impacted as the government shutdown continues, but the Grand Island VA Hospital isn't feeling the same pressure as its counterparts.

The VA Hospital is federally funded, but isn't being affected by the shutdown. That's because it's on a different funding cycle than some other government agencies.

Their budget is appropriated for a two year time period. The current budget will end on October 30, 2020.

"For us it's business as usual, and that's a good thing," said Angela Williams, site director at the Grand Island Medical Center. "It helps keep the stress level down and make sure that our employees are doing what is necessary to provide the care for our veterans as well as have the services and supplies that they need to do that."

This cycle allows for doctors to keep treating their patients and prescribing medications as usual.

Williams said their funding starts at the national level. The money is then given out locally depending on need.

She said they've gone through government shutdowns before, and have never been affected by one. She said she doesn't know what would happen if they didn't have a budget before the shutdown.

"I would hope that they would have some type of emergency funding, because we can't stop providing care for the veterans and the individuals who have served our country," Williams said.

The VA hospital isn't the only service that will be available to veterans without interruption.

Don Shuda, the Hall County veterans service officer, said veterans benefits are funded through September 2019. He said cemetery services are all operating without problem.

"It's important that the veteran knows their care is going to continue to be provided. No would would like to sit at home wondering tomorrow if I get up, can I get the care I need. Can I get the prescriptions I need. So that there is there for them," Shuda said.

Williams said even if they were to be impacted by the shutdown, the hospital would still run as normal.