BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights
This week Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill allowing Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to provide services at any medical facility in New Hampshire, not just the Manchester VA Medical Center.
The bill is a follow-up to an Executive Order Sununu signed last year which had the same effect. The order came after the Manchester VA Medical Center suffered water damage and a bedbug infestation. VA doctors needed permission from the state to offer services at private facilities, or else veterans would not have received care.
Gov. Sununu issued the following statement:
“Last summer, in response to a crisis at the Manchester VA, I was proud to sign an executive order making New Hampshire the first state in the country to lift licensing restrictions for VA Doctors and allow them to practice at any medical facility in New Hampshire. This enabled the VA to partner with private hospitals around the State to deliver top quality care to our veterans – a new model now being replicated around the country. Going forward, we must recognize a fundamental truth, that once a person signs those enlistment papers, they are a soldier for life. This means as civilians that we carry the obligation of ensuring we will be there for our veterans just as they stood for us.”
New Hampshire veterans still face many barriers to care, however. For one, New Hampshire is the only state in the nation without a full-service VA hospital.
Whistleblowers have also brought attention to substandard care at the Manchester VA Medical Center, including an abnormally high number of veterans with preventable spinal conditions. Last summer VA Secretary David Shulkin removed some of the leaders at the Manchester VA, pledged more funding, and launched an investigation.
One of those whistleblowers, Dr. Stewart Levenson, is now running for Congress.
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