Massachusetts Delegation Touts Decision to Keep VA Hospitals Open
Today, after years of fighting against proposals to close or consolidate local VA facilities, Senators Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA) and members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation issued the following statements in response to the Department of Veterans Affairs's (VA's) decision to preserve the VA medical facilities in Bedford, Brockton, Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury. Such decision signals the end of the multi-year Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) process.
"Our nation's veterans deserve the best possible care. The VA made the right decision to keep the hospitals in Bedford, Brockton, West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain open. It's a victory for all the veterans in our region who have sacrificed so much for our country. A big cloud has been removed, as the VA will continue to provide essential services at all four of these facilities," said Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA).
"Today's announcement is a victory for everyone who cares about the quality of veterans' services in the greater Boston area. The veterans' communities of Brockton, Bedford, Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury will be better served because of the VA's decision not to transfer or consolidate health care services and to maximize the space on these four campuses. I will continue working with Secretary Peake to ensure that the VA is equipped and empowered to meet the health care needs of veterans in Massachusetts," said Senator John Kerry (D-MA).
"I am thrilled that after years of making our case to the VA, we have succeeding in convincing the Bush Administration that it must continue to support all of our Massachusetts facilities. This is a win for Massachusetts and a win for the VA, but most importantly it's a win for our veterans. With an aging veteran population and troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, closure or consolidation of some of the best veterans research and rehabilitation facilities in the country would have been an enormous mistake. I look forward to working with the rest of the Massachusetts congressional delegation to ensure the VA and its facilities around our state receive the resources needed to deliver world-class care to our country's heroes," said Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-MA).
"I am pleased that the coordinated efforts of our Congressional delegation, led by Representative Tierney, have stopped this move and prevented a reduction in services to veterans at a time when we should be increasing them," said Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA).
"Today's announcement is good news for veterans in eastern Massachusetts. By preserving and enhancing the Bedford VA, our veterans will continue to receive the health care they need and deserve. I congratulate my friend John Tierney for his leadership on this important issue," said Congressman Richard E. Neal (D-MA).
"For almost five years, I have been fighting to ensure that services and programs remain at the Bedford VA. Today's decision is great news and a well-earned victory for local veterans, their families, the medical and professional staff at the Bedford VA and the entire community," said Congressman John F. Tierney (D-MA).
"I applaud the Secretary's decision which will ensure that veterans in Massachusetts will continue to be able to access the quality VA health care they earned by virtue of their service to America. With new veterans returning home everyday from Iraq and Afghanistan, it is the wrong time to assume improved overall care can be provided to our veterans by limiting our options of obtaining services," said Congressman William D. Delahunt (D-MA).
"I'm pleased that the VA has determined that no transfer of services is warranted. We must do all we can to ensure that Massachusetts veterans have as much access as possible to high-quality, convenient medical services," said Congressman James P. McGovern (D-MA).
"I am pleased that the VA has decided to maintain existing services at its four Massachusetts facilities. This is great news for our veterans, who deserve reasonable access to quality health care," stated Congressman Michael E. Capuano (D-MA).
"As a delegation, we have fought the VA's push to consolidate our VA facilities and veterans' services for over four years. Accordingly, I'm pleased with Secretary Peake's determination not to move forward with consolidation plans, thereby preserving our current VA framework and refraining from compromising the critical veterans' services provided by the Bedford, Brockton, Jamaica Plain, and West Roxbury VA facilities. It is my hope that the VA can now turn its entire attention to the critical issues of providing quality medical care to our wounded warriors; offering compensation to VA medical personnel that is commensurate with their skill and service; upgrading our existing VA facilities; and improving the transportation system for veterans, so that they continue to receive the high quality of care they deserve," said Mr. Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA).
"This announcement is outstanding news for veterans in Massachusetts who rely on the Bedford VA for their medical services. Our veterans and their families deserve convenient access to the best possible medical care and I applaud Congressman Tierney and all of the members of the delegation who have worked to ensure the continued availability of these services at the Bedford VA," said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D-MA).