U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement regarding Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki's visit to New Hampshire today:
"I applaud Secretary Shinseki's approval of the long overdue contract that will allow the Manchester Veterans Center to move to a newly renovated facility in Hooksett. I'm also pleased that he recently approved a partnership between the Manchester VA Medical Center (VAMC) and Dartmouth School of Medicine, which will help provide even better care for New Hampshire's veterans.
"I want to thank Dr. Marc Levenson, the Director of the Manchester VAMC, for his willingness to conduct town hall meetings to hear from New Hampshire veterans and for his commitment to improving and expanding VA care in our state. While there has been significant progress, more work is needed, especially in the areas of mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and orthopedics.
"Until New Hampshire has a full-service VA medical center, I will continue to work with the VA to expand the services provided to our veterans through contracts with private hospitals around New Hampshire. And as the VA makes decisions about providing more easily accessible services, I will make sure the priorities of New Hampshire veterans are heard - including the push for expanded service for North Country veterans who currently have to travel long distances to receive care.
"I look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Shinseki and the VA to ensure that New Hampshire's veterans receive the care they have earned."
New Hampshire is one of the few states without a full-service VA hospital. As a result, far too many veterans are forced to travel significant distances and out of state to receive care. Senator Ayotte and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) are cosponsoring legislation that would require the VA to provide for a full-service VA hospital or equivalent contracted services in-state.