SCHUMER URGES U.S. ARMY TO RECONSIDER PHASING OUT CRITICAL SOLDIER WELLNESS PROGRAM AT RIVER HOSPITAL IN ALEXANDRIA BAY, WHICH TREATS MANY TROOPS FROM FORT DRUM FOR POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS – SCHUMER SAYS NEW PROGRAM MAY NOT OFFER THE FULL LINE OF MENTAL HEALTH & THERAPEUTIC SERVICES
River Hospital in Northern NY’s Alexandria Bay Offers Full Line of Mental Health & Wellness Treatments for Fort Drum Soldiers Seeking Treatment For Extremely Sensitive Issues Like Post-Traumatic Stress and Sexual Abuse
Schumer Says Eliminating River Hospital’s “Soldiers’ Wellness Program” Could Have Negative Impacts on Soldiers & Community, Which Rely on This Service to Fill Huge Treatment Gap in The Local Area – Schumer Urges Army to Reconsider Phasing Out This Critical Program; River Hospital’s Program Also Includes a Unique Women-Only Program for Sexual Assault Victims
Schumer: Now Is Not Time To Change This Unique & Successful PTSD Program For Soldiers at Fort Drum & Surrounding Communities
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the U.S. Army to reconsider and reverse its decision to phase out River Hospital’s Soldiers’ Wellness Program, located in Alexandria Bay, NY. Schumer explained that the Army has said it plans to replace this program, which has successfully treated many troops at Fort Drum, with a program that does not offer the full line of therapeutic services that River Hospital offers. Schumer said the River Hospital program is a vital service to the soldiers at Fort Drum that participate in this intensive program to treat sensitive mental health issues like post-traumatic stress and sexual assault, and is also a critical part of the regional economy. According to the hospital, since its inception in 2013, River Hospital’s program has graduated over 251 soldiers from its cutting edge behavioral health program. Schumer said this program provides excellent health outcomes for the service members who have given so much to our community and nation, and it merited continuing the vital services they provide.
“The dedicated professionals at River Hospital provide high-quality, effective mental health treatment – particularly for our dedicated men and woman in uniform who are struggling with difficult issues like post-traumatic stress – and they deserve to keep doing just what they do. So I am urging the Army to reverse this decision and keep the River Hospital program up and running for the soldiers who need and deserve it,” said Senator Schumer.
Schumer explained that, in addition to reducing the high standard of care for these patients, eliminating the River Hospital program could have a major negative impact on the local community. Schumer said River Hospital is a small, rural hospital that has invested a great deal in order to offer such an innovative program for the Army. As a result, it is now able to offer the same high level services to the community, filling a huge treatment gap in the local area. Schumer also pointed out that the hospital has a special synergy with Fort Drum and is also a key economic generator of jobs for the region, and that this proposed change would have negative jobs impacts that could easily be avoided by maintaining a program with a proven track record. Schumer said the Army’s decision to phase out this program and replace it with a service that may provide less than the full gambit of treatment options was poorly thought out and would have a negative impacts on the hospital’s staffing and financial standing.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to United States Army Medical Command appears below:
Dear Lieutenant General Patricia D. Horoho,
I write today to express my concern that the Army is proposing to phase out the Soldiers’ Wellness Program at River Hospital in Alexandria Bay, New York, that has successfully treated many of our fine troops at Fort Drum, and instead transfer this unique ad successful post-traumatic stress (PTS) program to under-prepared on-post facilities. Since its inception in 2013, River Hospital’s program has graduated over 251 soldiers from its cutting edge behavioral health program, providing excellent health outcomes for these service members who have given so much to our community and to our nation. Therefore, I request that the U.S. Army’s Medical Command (MEDCOM) reverse this decision and allow the River Hospital program to continue its excellent care in accordance with previous negotiations with the Fort Drum medical community.
I am especially disappointed as I understand that the new replacement program starting up at Fort Drum will not offer the full line of therapeutic services that River Hospital offers, translating to a step down in care as well as in the numbers of soldiers that can be in treatment at a time. With the ever increasing need for effective behavioral health care treatment, this is not the time to change one of the most unique and successful partnerships between the Army and a community to treat the difficult issue of post-traumatic stress in a non-stigmatizing environment. Moreover, the PTS program at River Hospital has a unique and successful women-only group that serves women soldiers who are sexual assault victims. An off-site location for this group of soldiers can be especially critical.
In addition to reducing the high standard of care for these patients, I believe eliminating the River Hospital program will have a major negative impact on the local community. River Hospital is a small, rural hospital that has invested a great deal in order to offer such an innovative program for the Army. As a result, they are now able to offer the same high level services to the community, filling a huge treatment gap in the local area. This decision will have a significant impact on the hospital’s ability to maintain this level of community treatment options, as well as on the hospital’s staffing and financial standing.
I appreciate your timely response to this request, and please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff if you have any questions or need additional information.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator