July 26, 2011

Wyden, Merkley, DeFazio Issue Statement on VA’s Announcement on the Future of the Roseburg VA Hospital

Washington, D.C. In response to the Veterans Affairs Department’s announcement today of its future plans for the VA Roseburg Health Care System, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio issued the following statement:  

“This is obviously not the decision we were hoping for. Keeping the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) closed will force veterans to travel further and, potentially, pay more for care that they should be receiving from the VA. Given this reality, it is essential that the VA makes 100% sure that veterans receiving services from Mercy Hospital and other private sector health care providers do not get stuck paying more than they normally would at a VA facility.

“The VA’s announcement is not all bad news.  The VA’s decision to leave most inpatient services intact, keep the emergency room open and expand telemedicine and some specialty care services are all good signs.  But the bottom line remains that the health of thousands of Oregon veterans depends on the Roseburg VA hospital and it is impossible to make cuts to services there without our nation’s heroes suffering the consequences.  We will continue fighting for an ICU and other improvements at the Roseburg facility and look forward to working with the facility’s new director, Carol Bogedain, to ensure the best possible health care for Oregon veterans.”