Schumer Against Plan To Close V.A. Outpatient Facility In Amherst

WASHINGTON – The decision to close the VA outpatient veterans’ health center in Amherst has U.S. Senator Charles Schumer fighting back.
Schumer wrote a letter to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) urging them to reconsider their decision to close the VA outpatient veterans’ health center in the Northtown Plaza in Amherst, and to develop an alternate plan for local veterans immediately.
Schumer said patients at the clinic, mostly World War II and Korean War veterans, received a notice that the outpatient health center would soon be shuttering its doors. Schumer said that veterans from across Erie County and Western New York rely on the outpatient center for top-notch medical care, and that closing the center would force the veterans, who risked their lives to defend the United States, to find their own care at private and community-based programs.

Photo: Senator Charles E. Schumer

“The Amherst outpatient health center plays an essential role in the lives of veterans across Erie County and Western New York, and shutting it down without a viable alternative in place would be an affront to the veterans who sacrificed so much to defend our nation,” said Schumer  “That’s why I’m calling on the VA to reconsider their decision to close this essential facility at once. Providing our veterans with first-rate medical treatment and services is one of my utmost priorities, and something that I’ll always fight tirelessly for.”
Schumer said that since 2011, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatient veterans’ health center in Amherst, has provided top-notch medical treatment, physical therapy, and cognitive care to veterans in Erie County and Western New York. According to Schumer, the health center sees an average of 37 patients on a daily basis. In addition to the medical treatment they receive, the center offers recreational activities, meals and health education, all of which are critical for seniors who may be living in isolation.
Additionally, in having veterans visit the clinic 2-3 days per week, the health center is able to provide relief to the veterans’ caregivers, which is often a family member, allowing them to work a full-time job and manage their own day-to-day needs. Schumer said that the veterans who have been receiving care from the health center have formed tight bonds with one another, which have helped them in their recovery and ongoing health maintenance, that cannot simply be replicated overnight at different care centers. Schumer stated that expecting these veterans, who have honorably and loyally served their country, to now find their own care at private and community-based programs is an affront to the United States’ duty to serve and protect its veterans.
Schumer explained that he understands the unique challenges the VA faces, as well as the uncertainty the VA faces in terms of current location of the outpatient clinic. However, Schumer added, the VA-provided medical treatment services, as well as the community the staff and patients at the Amherst health center have created, play a critical role for veterans in Erie County. Schumer explained that for these reasons, he’s urging the VA to consider an alternate plan for these veterans, including moving the center to another location in Amherst or one of the surrounding towns.