Rep. Stefanik talks veterans health care, visits Fort Drum

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BY GORDON BLOCK

Health care was a top priority for veterans Thursday, as north country advocates met with U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik.

A major concern is making health care accessible through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Choice program. The program connects veterans to outside civilian providers when their VA wait is longer than 30 days, or if it would require more than 40 miles of driving.

“It means sometimes they have to travel,” said Dwight Doane, commander at American Legion Post 61, where the roundtable was held. “They have no choice.”

Stefanik, R-Willsboro, said she wanted to use her resources to make that process more simple. She added she was hire vetsworking to change the program’s eligibility from 40 miles in a straight line, to measuring it by road distance.

“I’m working with some of the other members of Congress to address that issue, so that people in rural communities are able to access care closer to their homes, and they don’t have to worry about transportation challenges,” Stefanik said.

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