Addressing Clinic Closure at Brooklyn VA Hospital
NYC Veterans Alliance and our community partners, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 72 and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, express disappointment and concern that the Brooklyn VA is shuttering its ENT clinic. The residents who have staffed the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) clinic at the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System’s Brooklyn Campus have lost their credentialing and NY Harbor has been unable to fill this staffing vacancy; the clinic is scheduled to close in June. There has been no announcement of when the clinic will reopen.
Veterans relying on care at the ENT clinic in Brooklyn are now forced to choose between traveling an hour away to the Manhattan VAMC or nearly two hours to the Bronx VAMC, or facing the unfamiliar and too often difficult bureaucracy of the Choice program to seek care from a non-VA provider who may not understand the needs of veteran patients—such as conditions related to burn pits or other toxic exposures during military service. Veterans have earned high-quality, accessible healthcare. NY Harbor Healthcare is failing to fulfill this basic responsibility for veterans who need ENT care.
NYC Veterans Alliance remains opposed to reduction of onsite services offered at VAMCs located in NYC, and we urge our local elected officials to stand with us and our community partners at VVA Chapter 72 and IAVA against any reduction in Brooklyn or elsewhere in NYC, be it large or small.
Last year, NYC Veterans Alliance vocally opposed closure of outpatient surgeries at the Brooklyn VAMC, and we succeeded in halting NY Harbor’s plan. Especially during this time of uncertainty about the future of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the conspicuous absence of a confirmed Secretary to lead it, we cannot allow ANY reduction in onsite services at our crucial VAMC facilities go unaddressed.
The VA NY Harbor Healthcare System must restore ENT care at the earliest possible opportunity, and communicate progress toward that end clearly to its patients.