Hassan saves NH VA clinics, announces end of VA Air Commission that threatened access to care
WASHINGTON – Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, worked with a bipartisan group of her colleagues including Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) to end the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission process that threatened New Hampshire veterans’ care. Senator Hassan has consistently pushed back on recommendations to this Commission, which included closing VA clinics in Littleton and Conway, and moving outpatient surgical care from the Manchester VA Medical Center to community providers.
“As Senators, we share a commitment to expanding and strengthening modern VA infrastructure in a way that upholds our obligations to America’s veterans,” the Senators said in a statement. “We believe the recommendations put forth to the AIR Commission are not reflective of that goal, and would put veterans in both rural and urban areas at a disadvantage, which is why we are announcing that this process does not have our support and will not move forward. The Commission is not necessary for our continued push to invest in VA health infrastructure, and together we remain dedicated to providing the Department with the resources and tools it needs to continue delivering quality care and earned services to veterans in 21st century facilities–now and into the future.”
Hassan and colleagues are ending the AIR Commission by announcing that the Senate will not approve nominees to the Commission. Without the Senate’s approval of the nominees, no Commission will be established and the process as outlined by the VA MISSION Act will not move forward.
The announcement from the Senators follows Senator Hassan’s efforts to highlight the harm that the recommendations would do to New Hampshire and her bipartisan push to end the Commission. Senator Hassan previously introduced legislation to eliminate the VA Air Commission and pressed VA Secretary Denis McDonough on the issue. She also led New Hampshire and Vermont Senators in calling on the VA to protect veterans’ access to care in their states after the AIR Commission recommendations came out, and held a field hearing in Manchester to highlight this and other pressing issues facing New Hampshire veterans.