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Col. FORBES. No; general medical and surgical cases.
The CHAIRMAN. What makes the depression increase the number of general medical cases?
Col. FORBES. Well, the men who can not get work.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean to say they come into this service because they can not get work or because they need attention?
Col. FORBES. They need attention. There are a lot of ex-service men who would not seek medical attention or compensation if they had employment; they would pay their own expenses.
The CHAIRMAN. To what extent does that condition exist?
Col. FORBES. I should say that from 10 to 15 per cent of our men would look at it that way.
The CHAIRMAN. How many applications have you had for hospitalization of all kinds?
Col. FORBES. All men who apply for compensation, of course, are not eligible for hospitalization. We have made over 1,000,000 physical examinations and we now have 30,700 men in hospitals. There have been 212,000 admissions to hospitals to date.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you able to take care of all those who make applications?
Col. FORBES. Well, we have some difficulty in certain diseases.
NUMBER OF VACANT HOSPITAL BEDS.
The CHAIRMAN. How many vacant beds are in the hospitals now! Col. FORBES. About 7,000 all told.
The CHAIRMAN. What percentage of the total bed capacity would that be?
Col. FORBES. I should say that 70 per cent of that total would be for general medical and surgical cases.
The CHAIRMAN. I mean, what percentage would 7,000 vacant beds be of the total bed space?
Col. FORBES. About 19 per cent.
The CHAIRMAN. Then that gives you the proper amount of vacant space? It is said, is it not, that about 10 or 15 per cent of vacant bed space must be maintained ?
Col. FORBES. Yes, sir; to take care of the turnover, proper sanitation, preparation for emergencies, and things of that sort.
The CHAIRMAN. If you have 15 per cent of vacant beds, what is the necessity for increasing the hospital facilities?
Col. FORBES. Within four years there will have been vacated 11,400 beds due to the expiration of leases.
The CHAIRMAN. In contract hospitals?
The CHAIRMAN. You mean that the Government has leased hospitals?
Col. FORBES. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And they are now operated by the Public Health Service?
Col. FORBES. Yes, sir. Fox Hills in New York, for instance.
The CHAIRMAN. And your idea is that these leases will not be renewed ?
Col. FORBES. They want to sell the properties, and I hope many of them will not be renewed or property purchased.
POLICY OF BUREAU IN REGARD TO PURCHASE OF HOSPITALS.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any movement on foot on your part to buy these properties?
Col. FORBES. No, sir; absolutely none.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any pressure brought to bear on you to buy hospitals anywhere throughout the country that people have for sale and want to get rid of?
Col. FORBES. About every day in the week.
Col. FORBES. It has no effect unless the hospital is of such a type that it is well fitted for the purpose.
The CHAIRMAN. Was there any truth in the statement I saw in the paper a few weeks ago wherein you were quoted as saying that you were buying hospital properties that were for sale?
Col. FORBES. There was no truth in that statement.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any well-defined plan in the Veterans' Bureau to buy hospital properties?
Col. FORBES. Yes, sir; if hospitals can be purchased such as the one at Memphis.
The CHAIRMAN. What was the advantage in obtaining the Memphis Hospital?
Col. FORBES. It is a brand new fireproof structure completely equipped and completely furnished.
The CHAIRMAN. Was that the only reason for buying it?
Col. FORBES. It was well equipped and well established for our work. It was inspected by our medical people and found to fill all our requirements.
The CHAIRMAN. And you bought it?
Col. FORBES. No; the Secretary of the Treasury purchased it upon the advice and recommendation of the whole committee.
The CHAIRMAN. What kind of patients are you caring for there?
Col. FORBES. General medical and surgical cases will be assigned while the load is high.
The CHAIRMAN. How many patients are there?
Col. FORBES. There are no patients there now, because the property has not been turned over to us.
The CHAIRMAN. Is the building completed ?
Col. FORBES. Our medical division decided that we could take care of 250 patients in that hospital.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that is a necessary investment?
Col. FORBES. Yes, sir; I think it is a very splendid and necessary investment if it can go through.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any doubt about its going through?
The CHAIRMAN. I do not think there is much doubt about anybody letting you have property if you want to buy it, but do you not
think we ought to go a little slow in investing money in this class of property? I understand you are advocating the passage of a bill that provides for an additional expenditure of $16,000,000 for the construction or purchase of hospitals?
Col. FORBES. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Is any part of that $16,000,000 going to be used to buy hospitals of this type or are you going to construct them?
Col. FORBES. We would buy them if we could get them like the one at Memphis, Tenn., but I do not believe we can get any more just like that hospital. The hospital program, I might say, is for the future needs of the service, and it has been studied not by the Director of the Veterans' Bureau, but by the hospital experts of the country and Government experts.
The CHAIRMAN. Might not these medical people and experts be a little prejudiced in favor of an investment somewhere in their neighborhood?
ALLOCATION OF APPROPRIATION OF LANGLEY BILL.
Col. FORBES. I have not seen any such spirit. Of the $18,600,000 appropriated by the terms of the first Langley bill there were only two purchases that I know of without further reference, and the first was the purchase of the Catholic Orphanage in New York City, for which $2,750,000•was paid, and $600,000 was allocated for reconstruction work. This hospital is to care for neuropsychiatric patients, and 1,000 patients will be accommodated. That work is now under way.
The CHAIRMAN. When will that hospital be ready? Col. FORBES. That is supposed to be ready in June, 1922. The other purchase, was made at Rutland, Mass. The balance of the money, $18,600,000, with the exception of $821,000, which was held for providing extras during the course of construction has been allocated.
The CHAIRMAN. How much is still unallocated ? . Col. FORBES. That is still unallocated, $821,000 held in abeyance. Then, for the United States Public Health Service Hospital No. 63, Lake City, Fla.—that was the property purchased for 100 T. B. beds.
The CHAIRMAN. How much has that cost? Col. FORBES. They have not the price here. Allotted, $300,000. The CHAIRMAN. Is not that a big price for 100 beds? Col. FORBES. I believe that $3,000 a bed is a high price, but the supervising architect figured $4,000 a bed. That work at Lake City, Fla., is pretty well completed.
United States Public Health Service Hospital No. 50, Prescott. Ariz.-that is on Government property-$600,000.
The CHAIRMAN. They still want another hospital in Arizona : they make an effort every time we have a bill.
Col. FORBES. We have not purchased additional hospitals in Ari. zona.
The CHAIRMAN. You are not going to buy it?
Col. FORBES. The medical authorities advise me we do not need additional facilities in the State of Arizona.
The CHAIRMAN. How many vacant beds have you in Prescott ?
Then the Fort Logan H. Roots, Little Rock, Ark., for which there was allotted $250,000. That is also on Government property. The United States Public Service Hospital No. 55, at Fort Bayard, N. Mex., also on Government property.
The CHAIRMAN. That was a military hospital?
Col. FORBES. Yes, sir. United States Public Health Service Hospital No. 42, Perryville, Md., $500,000. Hospital at Fort Walla Walla, Wash. That was another post.
The CHAIRMAN. Another military hospital?
Col. FORBES. Yes, sir; $495,000. United States public Health Service Hospital No. 27, Alexandria, La., $50,000. National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Milwaukee, Wis., $1,400,000. National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Dayton, Ohio, $750,000; National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Marion, Ind., $170,000. Sanitarium at Rutland, Mass., $740,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that a Government establishment?
Col. FORBES. $740,000. United States Public Health Service Hospital No. 62, Augusta, Ga., $814,000. United States Public Health Service Hospital No. 60, Oteen, N. C., $748,000. Fort McKenzie, Wyo., $102,000. Catholic Orphange, New York City, $2,750,000; Negro Hospital, Tuskegee, Ala., $2,250,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that a new one at Tuskegee? Col. FORBES. Yes, sir; an addition. Palo Alto, Calif., $1,400,000. Then we have allotted $1,000,000 for a hospital in western Pennsylvania. A preliminary study is under way.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that a hospital already in existence?
Col. FORBES. That is one to be built in western Pennsylvania. In St. Louis, Jefferson Barracks, on Government property, $1,000,000. The Metropolitan district in New York, $1,000,000. That makes the amount allocated altogether $17,779,000, with a balance of $821,000 reserved for contingencies.
The CHAIRMAN. How many beds will that provide ?
Col. FORBES. 6,007 beds. The following shows the situation as reported by the Secretary of the Treasury's committee on January 14 (see attached 236a).
The CHAIRMAN. These facilities would take the place of the contract hospitals?
Col. FORBES. Yes, sir; in large part.
The CHAIRMAN. You have 6,000 of those provided by these faċilities?
Col. FORBES. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. That will come within 3,000 of satisfying all of your needs?
Col. FORBES. No, sir.
Col. FORBES. It would be 38,000 if we accept these figures. We must provide for them.
Mr. MILLIKEN. There are a great many beds located in places decidedly unsatisfactory, which projects if abandoned would call for replacement. For instance, at Fort McHenry the medical specialists say that that is not the proper place for the treatment of tuberculosis.
The CHAIRMAN. I have talked with medical experts and they tell me that it does not make any difference where you treat tuberculosis. Why not Fort McHenry?
Col. FORBES. It is of the old cantonment type.
Mr. MILLIKEN. The medical authorities say it is unsuited for a hospital.