The Honorable Anthony Principi
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
It is with great concern that we write to you about information that we have received regarding the potential closing of two Veterans hospitals in our state: the Vancouver and Walla Walla VA Medical Centers. We are thrilled with your decision to keep American Lake open and we respectfully ask for your commitment to protecting the 672,000 veterans in our state.
We understand that you established the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) Commission to provide recommendations regarding allocation of capital assets to meet the demand for veteran's health care services over the next several decades. It has come to our attention that two facilities in our state may be closed. While we agree that it is essential that we devote the appropriate resources to care for our veterans, we are extremely concerned that this proposal, if carried out, would seriously degrade the current levels of care for Washington state veterans.
Numerous veterans across our state have experienced many problems with the current VA health care system, including delays in obtaining medical care, and the long distances that many veterans must travel to obtain such care. We are concerned that closing two facilities, and leaving only two in our state, will further exacerbate these problems.
It is our goal to guarantee that Washington state veterans receive quality and affordable medical care in an appropriate facility, as well as to protect the jobs of those working in these facilities.
We appreciate your interest in looking for solutions to providing adequate resources for veterans in the future. However, if you believe that changes are warranted, these changes must be made with significant input from the veterans' community in my state. We will insist that our veterans are given the care that they so greatly earned. We look forward to working with you on improving the health care of veterans in this country.