Those purchases will be unaffected by the budget cuts requested for next year, he said.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays for vehicle fuel and maintenance, leaving the responsibility for procuring vans and drivers to the state agency, Gwinn said.
Although the drivers are considered volunteers, they are paid $75 every day they drive. Some drivers are working every day and make close to $19,000 a year, Gwinn said.
"If that's a volunteer program, maybe that's too high," Gwinn said.
The law creating the $75 fee took effect in 2008, said Mike Lyons, operations manager for the state Department of Veterans Assistance. He said the transportation program has been around for more than a decade.
At the time it was created, there were discussions of making the pay $50. Gwinn said that could be considered.
Markham doesn't think drivers are in the program for the money. Of the roughly 50 volunteers who drive at her hospital, she thinks most don't drive five days a week. She said they're generally retired, specifically mentioning a former lieutenant colonel and a former bank president.
"You have all different types (of) very, very good people," Markham said Tuesday in a phone interview. "As a matter of fact, a lot of them were volunteer drivers before the money..."
There are about 182,000 veterans living in West Virginia, Gwinn said. Markham said those who participate in the program are grateful.
"It means a great deal to the veterans because without our transportation service, most of them would not be able to meet their scheduled appointments," Markham said.