Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Letters to the Editor

January 24, 2013

Clinic, not telehealth center, needed

Mercer County has a local hospital, Princeton Community, that has offered space for a veterans clinic as well as a foundation that has been approached for funding of the equipment. Several individuals, as well as myself, have spoken with Senator Manchin and Congressman Rahall.

Congressman Rahall recently renewed his call for a clinic in Mercer County. I received a letter from Daniel F. Hoffmann, FACHE, network director, VISN 6 with the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he states the VA is exploring the possibility of establishing a telehealth center for veterans in Mercer County. Our legislators need to fight for an outpatient VA satellite clinic in Mercer County, not a telehealth center. The clinic would serve our veterans in Mercer, McDowell and Tazewell counties. Statistics show there is definitely the veteran population in southern West Virginia.

 Our veterans should not have to endure the cost, time and travel involved in traveling to the VA hospital in Beckley for non emergency procedures. A psychiatrist and psychologist will be available through Princeton Community Hospital (the Pavilion) to address the issues of PTSD and TBI, which is rampant with our veterans and returning veterans. Many have fought in wars; some making the ultimate sacrifice so that we can have our freedom. My husband was one of those that made the ultimate sacrifice.  

With the offer from Princeton Community Hospital and potential funding from a local foundation, this is a win-win situation for our veterans and Mercer County. I’m asking you to show your support and contact local legislators requesting they fight for our veterans and establish an outpatient VA satellite clinic in Mercer County.

Marie E. Blackwell

Bluefield

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