FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 24, 2010

SCHUMER TOURS GROUNDBREAKING SITRIN HEALTH CARE FACILITY -ASKS FORT DRUM TO CONSIDER USING FACILITY FOR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR VETERANS


Facility Is Equipped to Ease Veterans With PTSD Back Into Civilian Life - Poised to Expand to Increase Capacity for Inpatient Care

Rapidly Growing Fort Drum Currently Sends Majority of PTSD Patients Down to Facility In Texas - Schumer Says Keeping Them Closer to Home Should Be Explored

Schumer Also Discusses His Efforts To Improve Va's Treatment Of Vets With PTSD

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer toured Sitrin Health Care Facility and urged Fort Drum to consider using the facility for the treatment of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mental and physical afflictions.  Currently the majority veterans from Fort Drum with PTSD are treated in Texas, but Schumer said treating them closer to home should be considered, especially with such a groundbreaking facility so close by. 
 
Standing at the Sitrin Health Care Facility, Schumer was joined by Richard Wilson, CEO of Sitrin Health Care Facility; Jackie Warmouth, Director of Clinical Rehabilitation; Marc DePerno, Director of Adaptive Sports and Rosemary Bonacci, Vice President of Development. Schumer said the state of the art facility’s cutting edge approach to treating a variety of illness has the potential to aid the local veteran population in significant ways.
 
“Every day the Sitrin Health Care Facility helps our brave men and women receive the top notch care they need and deserve,” Schumer said. “Every one of us who has cared for a sick or hurt loved one knows how important it is to be near them during their treatment, we need to explore every option to make sure families with wounded loved ones near Fort Drum have that opportunity as well.”
 
Sitrin Health Care Facility has been providing high quality medical care to civilians and soldiers since 1951. The cutting edge care center provides a holistic approach to patients and families by operating a children’s camp, using the latest methods in sports adaptive therapy and providing support services to families of veterans and patients. Sitrin just completed a $38 million expansion with plans for a new $29 million expansion that will include a special facility just for veterans. The most recent expansion brought the campus to nearly 400 acres which employs 550 New Yorkers with the next expansion adding 65 more employees.
 
The state of the art facilities at Sitrin have the potential to provide an enormous benefit to Central New York’s veterans who are currently being serviced at Fort Drum. Right now, the majority of veteran patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from Fort Drum are being sent down to a facility in Texas for their treatment because of the rapid increase in demand for PTSD care. Going down to Texas for treatment often forces these veterans to leave their families while they recover, putting an added stress on them and their families. Sitrin’s expanded facilities can accommodate more veterans giving them access to top notch medical care all while being able to stay close to their family and their community. Today, Schumer urged officials at Fort Drum to take a hard look at using the Sitrin facility as an alternative to sending veterans down to Texas. Sitrin can comfortably accommodate more veterans, and with the planned expansion will be able to give more state of the art rehabilitation services.
 
Schumer has been one of the Senate’s leaders on veterans’ issues and today pledged to continue his work to improve veterans care, especially for those suffering from PTSD. In 2009, Schumer introduced comprehensive legislation that would lower the burdensome thresholds that veterans often face when seeking treatment for PTSD. The legislation would remove stringent burden of proof guidelines placed on veterans and allow them to receive treatment without going through endless streams of bureaucratic paperwork. The burdens placed on veterans only delay treatment and add to the stigma of having PTSD. Since introducing the legislation, the VA has decided to make the changes administratively, responding to pressure from Schumer and Congressman John Hall, the House sponsor of the legislation.

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