04.19.18

WITH RUMORS SWIRLING REGARDING THE FUTURE OF BAINBRIDGE’S COMMUNITY-BASED OUTPATIENT VETERANS CLINIC, SCHUMER DEMANDS THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION DETAIL ITS PLANS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE FACILITY AND OF HEALTHCARE FOR SOUTHERN TIER VETERANS

Schumer: The Vets Who Depend On This Clinic For Healthcare – Many Living In Rural Areas With Limited Access To Transportation – Cannot Be Left Behind Without Access To Essential Medical Services. 

Senator Schumer Demands VA Immediately Detail Their Plans; Making Sure Access To Quality Healthcare Is Maintained For Those Who Depend On This Facility 

Schumer: The Brave Heroes Who Served To Protect Us Deserve Top-Notch Healthcare; The VA Must Maintain Its Commitment To Southern Tier Veterans

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today called on the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to promptly, thoroughly and publicly clarify its plans for the Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) located in Bainbridge, NY. Schumer said recent reports have implied that the CBOC, which is operated by the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, NY is slated for closure. Schumer said Chenango, Delaware, and Otsego area veterans need and deserve clarity on the future of this facility given its central importance in providing first-class health care to this region’s many veterans.

“The outpatient clinic in Bainbridge plays a vital role in providing necessary medical services to Southern Tier veterans. Any proposal to close or curtail this facility without providing first-rate, accessible and accommodating alternatives is unacceptable,” said Senator Schumer. “When our veterans serve and sacrifice to defend us, it is our duty to ensure that they have the best possible health care when their tour of duty is done. That is why I am demanding the VA clarify their plans for Bainbridge, which I hope will remain open. Access to quality healthcare is a solemn duty we owe to our veterans, and they must not be shortchanged.”

Schumer said it is imperative the VA clarify future plans for the Bainbridge Facility, and urged the VA to remain mindful of the unique aspects of life in rural communities. Many who utilize this facility have little or no access to public transportation, many are elderly, some are disabled, and many face limitations on their personal ability to travel. Schumer said this, combined with the considerable geographic area serviced by the Bainbridge CBOC, makes the clinic’s location vital to the community. Schumer said it is imperative that reasonable access to care is ensured for all veterans who depend on this facility. 

Schumer said the Bainbridge CBOC provides thousands of vital medical services to local veterans living in Chenango, Delaware, and Otsego Counties every year. Schumer cited the Associated Press detailing that in a six month period between September 2014 and February 2015 the facility treated 2242 cases as evidence of the popularity of this location. Schumer said the clinic currently ensures that the healthcare needs of Southern Tier veterans are appropriately and expediently met and that the closure of the facility, or relocation without reasonable accommodations, could provide significant challenges for area-veterans to get the care they need and deserve. Schumer said he has heard from constituents and local leaders expressing their concerns regarding reports that the facility is slated to close and the uncertain future of healthcare for the community’s veterans population.

Schumer has always been a staunch and long-time supporter of New York’s veterans and of the VA. Recently, Schumer successfully championed and led the eventual passage of the bi-partisan Omnibus bill. The Omnibus included a significant increase to the VA budget, including roughly $4 billion that will be allocated to U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs Medical Centers across the country. Schumer said it is critical to provide healthcare for the men and women who served our nation, and it is imperative the accessibility and quality of healthcare not be diminished by any decision regarding this clinic.

A copy of Schumer’s letter appears below:

Dear Acting Secretary Wilkie:

Following an influx of concern expressed by my constituents in the Chenango- Delaware-Otsego, NY area, I write regarding reports that the Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) located in Bainbridge, NY and operated by the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, NY is slated for closure. The community needs and deserves clarity on the future of this facility given its central importance to providing first-class health care to this region’s many veterans.

The Bainbridge CBOC provides thousands of vital medical services to our local veterans located in Chenango, Delaware, and Otsego counties every year, ensuring that the healthcare needs of our veterans are appropriately and expediently met. Recently, constituents and local leaders have expressed their concerns to my office regarding reports that this facility is slated to close, and the uncertain future of healthcare options a closure would present for regional vets. In light of the importance of this facility, and the many concerns that I am hearing from my constituents, I strongly urge the Department of Veterans Affairs to promptly, thoroughly and publicly clarify its plans for this location and its patients.

Keeping in mind the end goal of providing efficient access to affordable and high-quality care for our veterans, I ask, too, that the VA remain mindful of the unique aspects of life in rural communities. Many who utilize this facility, have little or no access to public transportation, many are elderly, some are disabled, and many face limitations on their personal ability to travel. This, combined with the considerable geographic area serviced by the Bainbridge CBOC, makes it imperative that reasonable access to care is ensured for all veterans who depend on this facility.  

As you know, I am a staunch and long-time supporter of our veterans and of the VA. In fact, I was proud to champion and lead the passage of recent bi-partisan omnibus budget legislation that provided a significant increase to the VA budget, including $4B in VA construction funds. It is our duty to provide for the men and women who served our nation, and it is imperative the accessibility and quality of healthcare not be diminished by any decision regarding this clinic. 

I look forward to hearing all details for the Department of Veterans Affair’s plans regarding the future of the Bainbridge facility, and your plans to ensure access to healthcare for our veterans residing in this portion of New York State’s Southern Tier.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff.

Charles E. Schumer 

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