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In A New Report Dubbed “VA Recommendations To The Asset And Infrastructure Review Commission,” The VA Recommends The Closure Of Two NYC VA Medical Centers; Schumer Says Shuttering NYC’s VAs Will Not Stand & Has Already Communicated His Stance To The Agency – But Now, Senator Is Unveiling A Full Scale Advocacy Plan To Defeat The Recommendations 

Schumer Announces Formal Petition Drive Across NYC, Says He Will Deliver Signatures In Personal Meeting; Senator Will Also Ask Local Hospitals To Detail Their Concerns With Capacity & Veteran-Specific Conditions Like PTSD, And He’ll Demand Those Who Proposed This Come To NYC & Listen To Vets 1:1; He’ll Even Take The Matter To Biden 

Schumer: The Battle Plan To Ensure NYC Vets From BK & Beyond Get The Care They FOUGHT For Has Been Drawn  

Standing with veterans, veteran advocates and others, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, today, unveiled his ‘battle’ plan to keep New York City’s two VA medical centers open and caring for vets. Schumer said that despite the recent VA report from the feds that recommends closure of both Manhattan’s and Brooklyn’s VA Medical Centers, that he will be pushing back, involving local vets and engaging the White House to prevent these closures.

“The battle plan to ensure vets across New York, from Brooklyn and beyond, get the care they fought for has been drawn,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Today, I am unveiling a full-scale advocacy plan to defeat the recommendations in the recent VA report that would close the VA medical center here in Midtown and the one in Brooklyn.”

Schumer detailed his advocacy plan to defeat the recommendations made by the VA to the so-called Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission and made the case for why this should not happen. Schumer announced a formal petition drive he is leading across the city and said that he is also demanding that the DC folks who proposed the closures come to New York and talk to the veterans who would be impacted. Schumer also revealed that he plans to ask local hospitals to weigh in, saying that they already have issues with capacity, and that VA medical Centers are more ideal for the treatment of certain conditions like PTSD, service-related cancers and more. Finally, Schumer said this will be a plan that leads straight to the White House, where he will directly engage the president. Local vets spoke about this proposal as Schumer launched this formal advocacy plan.

“Amongst many other things, I am going to deliver the signatures we collect as part of this effort straight to the VA folks who penned this proposal, and I am going to be meeting with the VA, engaging the White House and more. Our vets sacrifice so much, and so that is why, when it comes to their care, we want to invest in it, not deplete it or cut it—not on my watch,” Schumer added.

Schumer’s original letter to the VA upon the proposal’s release appears below.

Secretary McDonough,

I write to express my strong opposition to the references the Department of Veteran’s Affairs made to closing the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Castle Point VA Medical Centers (VAMC) in its recommendations to the Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission (AIR Commission). Such recommendations would severely undermine the Department’s mission to deliver world-class care to veterans in every area of our nation, and especially in New York City, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Hudson Valley. As the Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission process proceeds, I strongly urge you to reconsider the published closure recommendations and work with the Commission, the President and Congress to preserve the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Castle Point VAMCs so that New York veterans will continue to receive high quality care in their communities.

As you know, the 2018 MISSION Act included the creation of the AIR Commission alongside other, much-needed reforms of the VA such as establishing veterans’ access to community-based physicians and hospitals, expanding the VA’s family caregiver program and improving the VA’s ability to deliver care via telehealth. The AIR Commission is intended to modernize the VA’s infrastructure so that it can better serve veterans across the country through increased care access, higher quality facilities and more varied service types that meet our veterans’ needs. The first step of this process required the Department to develop recommendations for the Commission, informed by the VA’s market assessment process which was performed over the course of the last two years. The Department published these recommendations on Monday March 14th, 2022.

In this publication, the Department included three recommendations to close the Brooklyn VAMC, Manhattan VAMC and Castle Point VAMC, all of which are located within 19 miles of each other. These three hospitals currently serve over 40,000 veterans between New York, Kings and Dutchess Counties in which they are located. Beyond these populations, the hospitals are critical to serving the needs of over 138,000 veterans who live in the New York City metro area, over 70% of whom are senior citizens. While the VA claims that they project an over 20% drop in VA health care enrollees in these areas, I have grave doubts these projections will bear out as they directly counter wider population trends in these same counties. These facilities add critical capacity and are key providers for New York City veterans in need of a variety of inpatient and outpatient services including mental health care, rehabilitation medicine and medical and surgical care.

While the VA has completed its statutory obligation to assess, develop and provide public recommendations to the AIR Commission, Congress and the public, your Department’s expertise will be called upon throughout each remaining step of this process. I ask that you work with my office going forward to review the underlying data informing the Department’s original recommendations and consider alternative recommendations that more accurately reflect the vital roles the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Castle Point VAMCs play in serving New York veterans and ultimately adopt new recommendations that preserve these hospitals to the benefit of veterans.


U.S. Senator Charles Schumer