Bradley's Leadership Results in New VA Policy Regarding Emergency Rooms at VA Facilities

For Immediate Release - Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Contact - Stephanie DuBois, (202) 225-5456

VA policy maintains round-the-clock service at Manchester VA Medical Center

(Washington, D.C.) - First District Congressman Jeb Bradley today praised the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for clarifying its policy on 24-hour access at emergency rooms at VA facilities across the country. Yesterday, the VA issued a directive ensuring that emergency rooms at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities will remain open 24 hours a day.

Yesterday's directive comes several months after Bradley brought this issue to national attention. Bradley worked with Deputy Secretary of the VA Gordon Mansfield to halt a VA proposal to close the Manchester VA Medical Center's emergency room between the hours of 10 PM and 6 AM and possibly on the weekends. The VA was entertaining proposals to reduce the hours of operation at VHA emergency rooms across the country until Bradley and Veterans Service Organizations intervened.

"Our VA facilities should be open and accessible to veterans who need care, and this policy will help to save lives and protect veterans' health," stated Bradley, a member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Bradley has also introduced legislation to give Congress greater oversight on any proposal that would curtail hours of operation at emergency rooms within the Department of Veterans Affairs' Health Care System. The bill has been referred to the House Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Paul Chevalier, Past State Commander of the N.H. Veterans of ForeignWars, stated, "This is another good example of Congressman Bradley's desire to work out problems for New Hampshire veterans and veterans across the country. He has a stick-to-it attitude, and this is another example of how veterans can count on him to do the right things for the right reasons."

Dr. Brian K. Matchett, Past Department Commander of the N.H. Disabled American Veterans, stated, "Closing emergency rooms across the country is inconsistent and contrary to the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) efforts. We are thankful that Congressman Bradley met with Deputy Secretary Mansfield and worked through the issues to realize it would be unethical to deny veterans access to the care."

Roland Patnode, Past Department Commanderof the N.H. American Legion, stated, " Yesterday's announcement by the VA is welcome news to the thousands of veterans in New Hampshire who seek, or may need to seek, emergency care at the Manchester VA Medical Center. Thanks to Congressman Bradley, a great veterans' advocate, for his hard work in getting this issue put to bed."