Veterans Clinics May Close in New Mexico

Veterans Clinics May Close in New Mexico


Several clinics that provide services to veterans in New Mexico face closure after a new Washington, D.C. recommendation.

A New Mexico community-based outpatient clinic, also known as a CBOC, could close, and one could move.

In addition to Gallup and Las Vegas, Raton and Espanola have been closed.

It would move to Albuquerque from Rio Rancho.

New research suggests that the closures should occur in regions of the country where populations or usage is declining.

There are veterans in those areas, and they rely on that CBOC, says Sonya Smith, Cabinet Secretary for Veterans Affairs. Our veterans who have transportation difficulties will not benefit from that proposition at this time.

Doctors in those areas would handle vet care. Minister Smith told KOAT they are unsure how taxing this could be for the rural areas.

"I believe we need to do a deep dive to see what those options would be for these neighborhoods. We must also consider that these recommendations are based on a dataset gathered in 2019, and much has changed since then."

We have to come up with explanations as a state agency and an advocacy agency, but more importantly, as a voice for our veterans. This isn't over yet, but we will fully utilize this.

During the upcoming weeks, she hopes to arrange meetings to address the issue and determine the impact of the closures on veterans in New Mexico.

Smith said, "My office has worked hard to design effective strategies to keep veterans in the state. A factor that we are pleased about is that a percentage of the veteran's retirement compensation will be waived starting next year, a concern for our veteran population.”