For veterans on the North Shore, receiving medical care from Veterans Affairs can be a difficult task.
The closest medical center is in Northport, more than an hour’s drive for many on the North Shore, and the two outpatient clinics in Nassau County are located in East Meadow and Valley Stream.
To make a VA trip more convenient, the Town of North Hempstead’s Veterans Advisory Committee has recommended adding a community-based outpatient clinic in the town.
“Installing a [community-based outpatient clinic] within the Town of North Hempstead will enable more veterans, regardless of age, to utilize health care services they have earned in service to this country,” said advisory committee member Kathy Garneau in a statement. “This, in turn, will alleviate the stress of traveling to either East Meadow or Valley Stream in order to receive necessary care.”
On Tuesday the measure gained the support of town officials, who signed a letter to federal representatives requesting funding for such a clinic.
A statement from the town said that North Hempstead would be the ideal place for a clinic due to services provided by the town government — such as transportation — and the large number of veterans in the area.
“A [community-based outpatient clinic] would assist in the support system that many of these veterans have established near their homes and friends, family and caretakers would breathe a sigh of relief to know that a clinic is open nearby to care for their loved one,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said in the statement. “In addition, the Town of North Hempstead has three excellent hospitals that would be ideal partners for the CBOC.”
North Hempstead has reached out for funding and support from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) and Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove).
Suozzi expressed his support in a statement on Wednesday.
“I am in favor of establishing community-based outpatient clinics in Nassau County, which would broaden VA services to help veterans who are unable to travel to the Northport facilities,” he said. “I have met with both the outgoing director and the incoming acting director of the Northport VA Medical Center, and have stressed the importance of expanding all services to meet the needs of all of our veterans.”
A spokesman for Rice told Newsday that the Congresswoman agreed that another clinic in Nassau would be “of great service to local veterans.”
According to the VA website, there are 47 outpatient clinics in the state of New York. A clinic in North Hempstead would give Nassau three clinics, as many as Suffolk County.
Reach reporter Luke Torrance by email at email@example.com, by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow him on Twitter @LukeATorrance.