Senator Cornyn Invites VA Secretary to South Texas to Meet with Valley Veterans

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today wrote to Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert McDonald to invite him to visit the Rio Grande Valley to hear firsthand from South Texas veterans about the need for a full-service inpatient health care facility in the region:

I have introduced legislation to direct the VA Secretary to put a full-service inpatient health care facility in the South Texas VA Health Care Center in Harlingen, Texas. This bill would require the VA Secretary to include in the VA’s annual Strategic Capital Investment Planning process the resources necessary to expand the existing facility to provide inpatient capability for 50 beds, an urgent care center, and the capability to provide a full range of services to meet the needs of women veterans.

Below is full text of the letter.

October 24, 2014

The Honorable Robert A. McDonald
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420

Dear Secretary McDonald:

I write to invite you to visit the Rio Grande Valley and to meet with some of its veterans. This region has one of the highest per capita levels of veterans in the nation. Your Department has estimated that more than 117,000 veterans live in Far South Texas, a number that will only continue to grow in the years ahead.

As you work to implement the changes set forth in the recently enacted Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, it is imperative that you garner a clear understanding of the challenges facing veterans in places like the Rio Grande Valley and other regions that lack access to adequate inpatient care in VA facilities. Due to the high demand for VA health care services, the VA has expanded outpatient care and other services at the VA Health Care Center in Harlingen. I have strongly supported this effort, but I urge you to consider expanding the facility to include a full-service VA inpatient health care facility. There has been a demonstrated need for VA inpatient care in the region, but the VA has thus far not stepped up to address this problem.

The veterans of Far South Texas stepped forward to protect their fellow Americans, and the community has welcomed them home and continues to honor their service. I invite you to come to Texas and visit this important region to hear firsthand from these veterans about the need for VA inpatient health care services.

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