For Immediate Release - Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Contact - Stephanie DuBois, (202) 225-5456
(Washington, D.C.) - First District Congressman Jeb Bradley today received word from the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that the VA's proposal to curtail the hours of operation at the Manchester VA Medical Center emergency room will not be implemented. The proposal would have closed the emergency room between the hours of 10 PM and 6 AM and possibly on the weekends.
"The last thing I want a veteran to worry about when faced with a serious health emergency is how he or she is going to pay for care at a private facility. This proposal, which would have been implemented with virtually no public or Congressional input, would have hurt New Hampshire veterans. Our veterans deserve nothing short of the best available care, and we owe it to them to ensure that our VA medical centers remain open and accessible," said Bradley, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. "I also want to personally commend and thank Deputy Secretary Gordon Mansfield for taking the time to meet with me on several occasions so that the concerns of New Hampshire veterans could be addressed and this proposal could be shelved before harming our nation's veterans."
Deputy Secretary Mansfield stated, "We appreciate Congressman Bradley's tireless efforts on behalf of New Hampshire veterans, and I look forward to continuing to work with him on ensuring that our nation's veterans receive the best care possible."
During his phone call this morning, Deputy Secretary Mansfield informed Bradley that the VA does not have the statutory authority to reimburse nonservice-connected veterans for care received at a private facility, except in very limited circumstances when the veteran has no other source of payment. Bradley pledged to continue to work with Mansfield on examining ways to remedy this issue .
Dr. Brian K. Matchett, Past Department Commander of the N.H. Disabled American Veterans, stated, "Due to Congressman Bradley's tremendous human services advocacy and effectiveness in Congress, he made a difference for veterans not only in Manchester, but the rest of country as well. We thank him for his efforts."
Paul Chevalier, Past State Commander of the N.H. Veterans of ForeignWars, stated, "We are very happy to hear the results of these efforts. Once again, Congressman Bradley has stepped up to plate for veterans in New Hampshire and throughout the country. We are proud of the good work he does for veterans."