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(J.R.S. 88)

Offered by: Senator Bahre of Addison County, Senator Bloomer of Rutland County, Senator Brownell of Chittenden County, Senator Canns of Caledonia County, Senator Costes of Franklin County, Senator Doyle of Washington County, Senator Ehrich of Bennington County, Senator Greenwood of Essex-Orleans County, Senator Ide of Caledonia County, Senator Illuzzi of Essex-Orleans County, Senator Maynard of Rutland County, Senator McCormack of Windsor County, Senator Riehle of Chittenden County and Senator Snelling of Chittenden County.

Whereas, Vermont's military veterans deserve the very best possible medical care, and

Whereas, many of Vermont's veterans rely on the health services that are made available at the United States Department of Veterans' Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, and

Whereas, it is essential that this critical health care facility continue to remain open, and

Whereas, the General Assembly has been informed that while there are no plans to close the center's hospital wards, an increasing number of specialized medical procedures will no longer be offered at White River Junction, and

Whereas, the transfer of these services to VA Hospitals in Manchester, New Hampshire and Boston will require additional travel for many older veterans, and

Whereas, those veterans who have the greatest need for specialized medical care often have limited transportation resources, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the Vermont General Assembly, while recognizing that the governance of the VA Medical Center in White River Junction is not a state responsibility, strongly urges the federal government to retain as many medical services as possible at this essential health care facility, and be it further

Resolved: That the personnel at the VA facilities in White River Junction, Manchester and Boston consciously work to coordinate the medical appointments of patients who are traveling from the same or adjacent towns inorder to maximize access to these life-sustaining health care services for veterans who must rely on others for transportation, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to White River Junction VA Medical Center Director, Gary DeGasta, Acting Secretary of Veterans' Affairs, Togo West and to the members of the Vermont Congressional Delegation.