VA clinics in northern NM to stay open
Jose Salas, center, a Vietnam Veteran, and others talk to U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, left, in April about keeping a V.A. Outpatient Clinic open in Las Vegas. New Mexico’s U.S. senators announced Monday that the clinics will stay open. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal).
By Ryan Boetel / Journal Staff Writer
Monday, June 27th, 2022
New Mexico’s U.S. senators announced on Twitter Monday that Veterans Affairs clinics in New Mexico are no longer at risk of closing.
The Department of Veterans Affairs had recommended that VA outpatient clinics in Las Vegas, Raton, Española and Gallup be closed, in part because of a decline in patient volume in the last five years and projected declines for the rest of the decade.
“I’ve been hell bent on saving these clinics so vets in rural areas can get quality health care close to home,” Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., said on Twitter. “Today, I joined (Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana) and a bipartisan group of Senators to end the (Asset and Infrastructure Review) commission process (and) keep these clinics open.”
Heinrich in April traveled to Las Vegas and spoke with area veterans that would have been affected by the closures.
Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., and U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, a northern New Mexico Democrat, have also spoken against the proposed closures.
“From day one, I’ve been clear that the process to close (four) veteran health clinics in NM didn’t have my support,” Luján said on Twitter. “It’s not what’s best for our veterans or those who support them. I’m proud to announce the Senate won’t be moving forward with the process.”