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Friday, November 20, 2009

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell asks Washington legislators to investigate North Country Veterans Clinic Switch

Today Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell asked Representative Bill Owens, and Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to call for an investigation of the Veterans Administration’s decision to end Carthage Area Hospital ’s VA Clinic and to award a contract to Washington , D.C. based Valor Healthcare.

“I cannot understand why the VA would end a six-year operation with the second best customer service record in the state and bring in a Washington, D.C. outfit that has had issues in some of the other VA clinics that it operates,” said Assemblywoman Russell. “The VA has not even provided evidence that Valor Healthcare would offer superior or more cost effective service to Carthage . Hence, without this data, I question the appropriateness of shutting down a successful clinic that has been praised by veterans in our area, to begin a new one with no relationship to the North Country .”

Assemblywoman Russell said that closing a clinic in one community just to open one up in a neighboring community is not sound economic development either, especially in this case, as a portion of revenue realized by Valor would not stay in the local community but instead be sent to Washington. But the most compelling reason is that veterans are very satisfied with the Carthage Clinic turned services around for our veterans and having them reestablish with a new physician and medical team is very troublesome and stressful.