WASHINGTON, September 9 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) met today with Veterans Affairs Department Secretary Eric K. Shinseki to urge him to open a VA community health clinic in the Northeast Kingdom.
A member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Sanders said Congress allotted $250 million this year for rural health outreach and delivery. “Expanding care in this part of Vermont is exactly the type of project we had in mind in providing these resources,” the senator said in a letter to Shinseki.
The VA medical center at White River Junction is more than two hours away from the homes of many veterans living in Caledonia, Essex and Orleans counties. A community outpatient clinic serving veterans in Littleton, N.H., is more than an hour away from towns along Vermont’s northern border.
“Veterans in the Northeast Kingdom speak highly of the VA health care they receive, but many complain about the time it takes to travel to and from VA facilities,” Sanders said.
Significant progress has been made in Vermont toward providing greater access to improved health care services for more veterans.
A Community Based Outreach Clinic moved into a newly renovated building in downtown Bennington last year.
By early 2010, a new VA clinic is expected to open its doors in Brattleboro.
The VA also plans to expand operations at the busy clinic in Colchester at Fort Ethan Allen.