Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

VA care could suffer under state budget cuts

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The deputy director of the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs said care at VA facilities could suffer after state budget cuts.

Deputy Director Douglas Elliott said his office is receiving a five percent cut in state funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2016.

Elliott expects those cuts will hit the department’s education and infrastructure hardest.

Training for nurses and nursing assistants will likely be cut, and structural repairs and upgrades may have to be put on hold.

Long term, Elliott is even more worried about the financial health of Veterans Affairs, forecasting as many as 240 layoffs, if Oklahoma’s oil industry fails to rebound.

But, still, Elliott feels his department may be better off than most, because it receives a good deal of federal funding.

Of the department’s roughly $140 million budget, Elliott said approximately $40 million comes from the state.

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