CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — Proposed drastic cuts to three Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in West Virginia will not happen, according to U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).
In April, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs issued a report that recommended three VA medical centers in the Mountain State be greatly scaled back. Had this happened, services at the Clarksburg, Huntington and Beckley VA hospitals including the emergency rooms, surgeries and most of the inpatient services would have been eliminated, leaving the facilities to run more like urgent care clinics than hospitals.
Leaders in the state were concerned the proposal would both make it more difficult for veterans in West Virginia to access medical care and negatively impact economic development efforts within the state. Leaders were also worried losing the services at the hospitals would mean veterans would be sent to the smaller, already over-burdened VA medical outpatient clinics around the state, affecting the quality of care at those facilities.
“And I said, ‘We can’t do this to our West Virginia veterans,’ and we were successful,” Capito said following the announcement that the proposals were off the table. “So that is no longer hanging over our heads, so we’re very pleased with that.”
Capito made her announcement while touring Leslie Equipment in Cross Lanes and Manchin was at the Veterans Memorial on the State Capital Grounds.
In all, 12 bipartisan US Senators opposed this commission, so there was no way it could get approved. Aside from West Virginia’s two senators, both Ohio Senators, Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman also said no.