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Veterans anxious for the next steps by VA, as some hospitals nationwide could close

FORT WAYNE, IN – Across the country, veterans are waiting for the next VA move, as the department is conducting a multi-year assessment to determine where new facilities should be built and where old facilities should be closed.

Some communities may see the hospital as completely closed. So what do veterans in communities have in mind? What is the timeline?

VISIT TO FORT WAYN

As we approach Remembrance Day, it is important to remember lost lives. Vietnamese veteran Patrick Fraizer is remembering his friend who never got home.

“There it is, Stephen C. Himes,” Fraizer said as he pointed
Himes’ name.

Fraizer is a volunteer at the Vietnam Memorial Wall, not in DC, Fort Wayne, Indiana. It may be a replica, but it’s as powerful as it looks in our nation’s capital.

Memorial Day Weekend may be a time to remember falls, but it’s also a great time to check out our nation’s veterans.

At Fort Wayne, a major issue remains the local VA hospital and the final recommendation that it should be closed.

“There are too many veterinarians in this circle who need this facility,” Fraizer said.

Fraizer is not alone. His friends, who are also veterans, have joined him for an interview today.

“The VA is like a safety valve for our veterans,” said Eric Johnson, a Vietnam veterinarian.

Bruce Lehman, another Vietnam veterinarian, continues to receive care from the local VA for being a mental health and Agent Orange recipient.

WHY DISCUSSION?

In 2018, former President Donald Trump signed the VA Mission Act, which created the Assets and Infrastructure Review Committee. It may have been a mouthful, but he was concerned with examining the current facility to determine if closing some of it could have been for the benefit of veterans.

Nearly 70% of VA’s health facilities were built more than 50 years ago. The first report came out this spring and recommended the closure of 17 facilities in 12 states, including sites in Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Oklahoma, Louisiana and California.

The full list includes:

  • Castle Point, NY
  • Manhattan, NY
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Philadelphia PA
  • Coatesville, PA
  • Hampton, VA
  • Salem, VA
  • Fort Meade, SD
  • Hot Springs, SD
  • Leeds, MA
  • Dublin, GA
  • Chillicothe, OH
  • Battle Creek, MI
  • Alexandria, Louisiana
  • Muskogee, okay
  • Livermore, CA.
  • Fort Wayne, IN

NEXT STEPS

We contacted the VA to better understand the plan, they declined the interview but stressed that all final decisions will be made by President Biden and Congress in the coming years.

Terrence Hayes, VA Press Secretary:

“The AIR Commission is an opportunity to redesign VA health care to maximize access and outcomes for current and future generations of Veterans.

It is important to note that this is just the recommendation made to the next AIR Committee. Nothing is changing now for Veterans care or VA staff.

Changes to the VA’s health infrastructure can take up to a few years and are subject to decisions by the Commission, the Presidency, and Congress, as well as strong stakeholder participation and planning.

In the long run, AIR recommendations may have an impact on VHA facilities and staff, but it is too early to know exactly where or where these impacts may be. VA will remain in all of our healthcare markets.

As for Fraize, he hopes to make the right decisions. Driving to a facility in Indianapolis is too far away and he is battling liver cancer and congestive heart failure.

“It would be a burden for people to get in a car and go to Indianapolis. That’s only 5 hours to travel,” Fraizer said.

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Veterans anxious for the next steps by VA, as some hospitals nationwide could close Source link Veterans anxious for the next steps by VA, as some hospitals nationwide could close

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