North Country health clinic for New Hampshire veterans sought
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s congressional delegation is asking for a health clinic in Colebrook to assist veterans.
They say currently, veterans in the North Country must undergo a long and sometimes difficult drive to the nearest clinics in Littleton and Conway. For more specialized care, they must travel to the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt.
“Our North Country veterans are frequently confronted with travel of more than 130 miles and trips of two to three hours in duration,” a letter from the delegation said. Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen and Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster wrote to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.
The letter said the delegation envisions a clinic similar to one in Fort Kent, Maine, which is staffed one day each week from the Caribou Community-Based Outpatient Clinic and serves about 200 veterans. This Fort Kent veteran population is similar in numbers to the veteran population that resides in Coos County in New Hampshire, the letter says.
New Hampshire is one of the few states without a full-service VA hospital, forcing many veterans to travel great distances to receive care. In January, Shaheen and Ayotte introduced the Veterans Health Equity Act of 2013, which would require the VA to provide for a full-service VA medical center in New Hampshire or equivalent contracted services in-state.