News Releases

Senators Oppose Plan to Close Walla Walla VA Medical Center

Feb 13 2004

Vow to fight for area veterans and local employees

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) Commission forwarded its final report to Secretary Anthony Principi at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The CARES Commission report concurs with the VA’s draft informal plan for the Jonathan Wainwright Memorial Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Walla Walla. Specifically, the VA’s plan called for closing inpatient beds at Walla Walla and contracting out acute medical care and impatient psychiatry.

Senator Murray has opposed the Walla Walla closure recommendation throughout the CARES process. Murray has advocated for Walla Walla with members of the Administration, met with Walla Walla area veterans, and submitted testimony to the CARES Commission hearing in Walla Walla last September.

“This is a sad day for our vets, the dedicated staff and everyone affiliated with the Walla Walla VA facility,” Murray said. “The VA was determined to diminish its presence in Walla Walla from the very beginning. I still do not believe Walla Walla was treated fairly in this process. I will continue to stand up for the veterans who rely on the Walla Walla VA.”

"I am deeply concerned by the CARES Commission's recommendation to close the Walla Walla VA medical center. I think it couldn't be more wrong. The commission does not fully understand the negative impact closing the center will have on our veterans,” Senator Cantwell said. “This is a disservice to those who have served our country so well. I will continue to fight for veterans and work to ensure they don't have to drive for hours to receive the care they need."

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