Washington, D.C. (March 15, 2022) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) today released the following statement in response to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) recommendations to the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission to modernize and realign the VA health care system.
According to the report released yesterday, it is recommended that the Walla Walla VAMC reduce services to primary care and mental health, which may result in the VAMC being reclassified as a Community-Based Outpatient Clinic.
“The VA’s recommendation to reduce health care services at the Walla Walla VA Medical Center is deeply concerning. Thousands of veterans in rural Eastern Washington rely on this facility for everything from routine exams to dental, vision, and other critical services.
“We should be rolling out the red carpet for veterans, not pulling it out from under them. Reducing or eliminating care options at the Walla Walla VA would be a disservice to the men and women in our communities who sacrificed so much for our country.
“We are eager to have a conversation with VA leadership to better understand their recommendations, review the data the administration used to develop these recommendations, and make our stance clear. In the meantime, ensuring veterans have access to quality health care, when and where they need it most, will remain our top priority.”
NOTE: The Department of Veterans Affairs released its Asset and Infrastructure Review report that includes recommendations by the VA Secretary McDonough to modernize and realign the VA health care system. The report is published in the Federal Register and submitted to Congress and a presidentially appointed AIR Commission. The AIR Commission will conduct public hearings as part of its review of the VA’s recommendations before submitting its own recommendations to the president for further review in 2023.