Senators will Discuss Closing Veteran Clinics in New Mexico

Senators will Discuss Closing Veteran Clinics in New Mexico

U.S. senators in New Mexico are talking to veterans this week about closing small VA clinics in four New Mexican towns.

A news release indicates that Senator Martin Heinrich, an Albuquerque Democrat, will speak at the VFW San Juan Argonne Post 1547 in Las Vegas, N.M., on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

Sen. Ben Ray Luján, a Nambé Democrat, will listen to vets on Wednesday. It is scheduled to take place from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday in the Student Union Ballroom.

The Department of Veterans Review, released in March, recommends centralizing services in major hubs nationwide where demand remains high. The report recommends closing smaller facilities and letting community health centers handle veteran services. The review suggests closing clinics in Espaola, Gallup, Las Vegas, and Raton in New Mexico. Over the past five years, enrollment dropped 55 percent at the Las Vegas site, the report says.

Both senators have vowed to keep the clinics open.

I don't want to close facilities or make our veterans travel longer and further to get care, Luján said in a recent statement. Moreover, it is unconscionable to divert veterans' VA care to local providers who are already overburdened.