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LI Vets In North Hempstead Can Waste Hours Driving To & From VA Medical Center In Northport For Some Of The Most Basic—Yet Critical—Care; Senator Says Travel For North Hempstead Vets To Northport, East Meadow Or Valley Stream Could Be Thing Of Past If Feds Green Light Plan 

While Senator Works To Add North Hempstead Clinic To VA Capital Plan, He Urges Feds To Immediately Deploy A ‘Mobile Vet Center’ To Town To Handle Any Overflow Cases

Schumer: A Nearby Clinic Makes All The Sense In The World For Many LI Vets In This Area Who Served America

With local Long Island vets required to travel—what can amount to hours—for basic medical care they’ve earned, and on the heels of news that the North Hempstead Board will request the federal government install a community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC) within the Town of North Hempstead, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, today, made a public push for the federal government to formally agree to establish the clinic and deliver a mobile unit in the meantime. Schumer was joined by area vets as he made the case to the feds.

“Establishing a vets’ community-based outpatient clinic on Long Island is just what the doctor ordered for the north shore of Nassau County,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “These outpatient clinics provide on-the-ground care that translates into saving money at the 30,000-foot level of our larger healthcare system. Think of it like this: if a veteran living on the north shore postpones what appears to be a standard appointment or shrugs off the first signs of a bad condition or possible disease because of, say, a travel hang-up, doing so inevitably means our larger healthcare system will allocate more people and more resources to a far sicker patient, which we should do, but if we can prevent these types of situations with these life-saving and money-saving community-based outpatient clinics, then let’s do that for our veterans on the north shore. So, my message today to the VA when it comes to this effort by North Hempstead, the answer is simple: give ‘em what they want.”

But Schumer pointed out that this request isn’t just about giving North Hempstead what it wants. There is marked need. For a slew of veterans standing with Schumer, today, and others across the North Shore of Nassau, receiving the care they require from the VA to maintain their health can be challenging because the closest medical center in the Northport region requires an hour-plus drive, Schumer said. And the two other outpatient clinics in the County sit in Valley Stream and East Meadow, also too far for many people to trek. Schumer said a new clinic in one of the nation’s most populated towns, North Hempstead, is a no brainer that would give the many vets on the North Shore better access to the care they have earned. Schumer cites these aforementioned drive times and an aging, and even expanding, vets population as some of the mainstay reason the feds should move fast to meet the Town’s request.

Schumer says that in order for this request to gain the federal backing it needs to become a reality, the VA must insert the Town of North Hempstead project into its yearly capital plan. Inserting a Nassau CBOC into the capital plan of the VA would begin the process of both construction and project financing. Schumer says this is where he has real sway to discuss the issue with the VA. Schumer said that he will use the weight of his Senate seat, representing New York, to ensure the VA understands why North Hempstead is asking for this clinic and why the request makes eminent sense.

But Schumer also said today that he will not just be waiting for the VA to review his local capital plan request on the CBOC.

In the meantime, Schumer wants the feds to immediately deploy a ‘mobile vet center’ to the Town for it to handle and accommodate any overflow cases or assist those with transportation obstacles that prevent them from undertaking the cumulative hours-long-drive to and from other facilities.

“As you work towards this goal I also request that the VA immediately deploy a Mobile Vet Center to the Town of North Hempstead and work with the local veteran community and elected officials to determine the best location for the mobile unit until a CBOC can be established,” Schumer wrote in his letter to Acting VA Secretary O’Rourke.

“No veteran should ever go without the care they need simply because of where they live,” said U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice, a member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. “Right now, veterans in North Hempstead are over an hour away from the closest VA facility. For elderly veterans, veterans with families and jobs or veterans without access to a car, this trip can be nearly impossible to make on a regular basis. That’s why this area needs a community-based outpatient clinic, which would provide North Hempstead veterans with easier access to the critical services they need to live full and healthy lives.”

“I want to sincerely thank Senator Schumer for his advocacy for North Hempstead’s veterans to ensure that they have access to local medical care. A CBOC would assist in the support system that many of these veterans have established near their homes and friends, family and caretakers would breathe a sigh of relief to know that a clinic is open nearby to care for their loved one. In addition, the Town of North Hempstead has three excellent hospitals that would be ideal partners for the CBOC,” said Supervisor Bosworth.

Schumer launched his push for the feds to open this outpatient clinic in North Hempstead saying that a medical clinic that would broaden and better streamline the services of the Northport VA Medical Center is an idea that must become reality. He cited long drives times, local transportation options and continuity of healthcare as he made the case for the federal government to add a new outpatient vets clinic in Nassau to its yearly capital plan and further said that until such a clinic is operating that the feds should deploy a ‘mobile vet center’ to the Town so vets can receive the basic care they’ve earned much closer to their own neighborhoods.

According to the VA, there are more than forty CBOC clinics across New York State. Long Island currently has five.

Schumer’s letter to the VA appears below.

Dear Acting VA Secretary O’Rourke,

We write to request that the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) work with the Town of North Hempstead and the Nassau County Veterans Services Agency to establish a Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) within the town in order to provide improved service and care to veterans in Northwestern Long Island.  As you work towards this goal I also request that the VA immediately deploy a Mobile Vet Center to the Town of North Hempstead and work with the local veteran community and elected officials to determine the best location for the mobile unit until a CBOC can be established.

Long Island towns like North Hempstead have worked diligently within local government to provide services that address the demands of a community whose population is reaching or already of retirement age and older, the VA must also address these concerns to ensure our nations heroes receive the care they have earned.  Currently, aging veterans living in North Hempstead must travel an hour east to the Northport VA Medical Center or roughly a half hour west to the nearest clinic in Valley Stream for in person care.  It is my understanding that the location for new CBOCs are determined based off of a number of factors including population data, density of eligible veterans, and the distance from existing clinics and medical centers.  Should it be necessary, we are prepared to use all of the resources of our offices to support this effort and establish a CBOC within North Hempstead through the appropriations process.

Again, we urge you to immediately begin the process of establishing a CBOC within the Town of North Hempstead, as the VA works to establish a CBOC we also request that the VA deploys a Mobile Vet Center to the town to begin immediately providing improved access for veterans within the town.


Charles E. Schumer
U.S. Senator