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News stories tagged with "va"

Veterans must travel to Syracuse's VA Medical Center for much of their care, and many say that trip is too long--especially in the winter, when it can take three to four hours. Photo: VA.gov
Veterans must travel to Syracuse's VA Medical Center for much of their care, and many say that trip is too long--especially in the winter, when it can take three to four hours. Photo: VA.gov

VA says no new hospital, but plans more services

Congressman Bill Owens met this weekend with North Country veterans to talk about a potential new VA hospital in Ogdensburg. The veterans have been pushing for the new hospital, saying the current setup forces patients to travel too far for services--often all the way to Syracuse. The idea has gained some political traction, but VA officials say a new hospital in Ogdensburg isn't the solution.  Go to full article
Elizabethtown Community Hospital VA Clinic (SOURCE:  VA)
Elizabethtown Community Hospital VA Clinic (SOURCE: VA)

VA may cut Elizabethtown clinic; considers Saranac Lake branch

Federal officials in Albany are considering shutting down the oldest VA clinic in the North Country. The clinic in Elizabethtown, operated by the Elizabethtown Hospital, has been service military veterans since 1988. VA officials say the region's doctor shortage and the need to serve more vets in the Tri-Lakes area could prompt them to move the clinic to Saranac Lake. Brian Mann has details.  Go to full article

PTSD, Pt.4: A war trauma counselor

This week we've been reporting on the struggles of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in getting help with combat trauma. Today we get a window inside their world from one of the North Country's most respected experts. Nellie Coakley is a Vietnam veteran. She relies on her own experience in her work as a war trauma counselor. She's worked out the region's Vet Center since the 1980s. Vet Centers were created to give an alternative to Vietnam vets who didn't trust the standard VA channels. Coakley counsels an increasing number of Iraq and Afghanistan vets, and she sees a similar mistrust. She says the American public needs to do more to understand post-traumatic stress disorder and help veterans re-enter society. The trouble is, soldiers coming home with PTSD find they can't leave their warrior training behind. For them, Coakley told David Sommerstein, combat is life-changing.  Go to full article

Clinton: help for Iraq's "signature wound"

New York Senator and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton travels to Fort Drum this afternoon. The Democrat will meet privately with 10th Mountain Division commanders and a group of soldiers. The visit will cap a day of appearances at VA Hospitals in Syracuse and Canandaigua. Clinton is promoting a package of bills aimed at improving health care for veterans. The proposal is co-sponsored by Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine. It would work to improve detection and treatment of traumatic brain injuries, which Clinton calls "the signature wound" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It would help train caregivers. And it would make it easier for wounded soldiers to collect disability benefits. David Sommerstein spoke with Senator Clinton on her cell phone yesterday. She says treating post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other mental illnesses is most difficult in rural areas like the North Country.  Go to full article
Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand
Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand

Gillibrand tours "substandard" Walter Reed Hospital

Investigations have begun into substandard conditions at Walter Reed Hospital. Many of America's injured soldiers, including National Guardsmen and servicemen from Fort Drum, are treated at the facility. The Washington Post has reported that some outpatient dormitories at the hospital were filthy and infested with vermin. Democratic Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand toured Walter Reed yesterday. She spoke with Brian Mann shortly her visit.  Go to full article

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