FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2022
Contact: Joaquín Romero
Senate Republican Veterans Oppose VA Clinic Closures
SANTA FE – In recent weeks, the federal Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission recommended the closure of four Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) in New Mexico (Española, Gallup, Las Vegas, and Raton) and the relocation of the Rio Rancho CBOC to Albuquerque. The clinics primarily serve rural communities all over the state and provide valuable outpatient primary care services to veterans who live far from the VA hospital.
In a letter sent to the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Senate Republican Leader, Senator Greg Baca (U.S. Navy Veteran), Senate Republican Whip, Senator Craig Brandt (U.S. Air Force Veteran) and Senator William Sharer (U.S. Army Veteran) urged the Secretary to reject the AIR Commission’s recommendations to close and relocate New Mexico COBCs.
“The value that these community based clinics bring to rural veterans in New Mexico is irreplaceable,” said Senator Baca. “We must be willing to serve our veterans in their communities, especially in a state as geographically large as ours. They should not have to drive hours upon end to seek the care they earned and deserve.”
“New Mexico is in the midst of a health care crisis and we simply do not have the resources to absorb those veterans who may lose vital services as a result of these closures and relocations,” added Senator Brandt. “The relocation of the Rio Rancho CBOC would impact me directly as a disabled veteran, but I am much more concerned about our rural veterans up north who live hours from the VA hospital in Albuquerque.”
If the VA moves forward with the Air Commission’s recommendations, the CBOCs could shut their doors as early as 2023.
The letter is attached.