New Veterans Health Clinic for Passaic County Advances in Congress
Language requested by Pascrell passes key House Appropriations Committee
WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J., 8th) announced today that language he requested calling for the establishment of a new, community-based veterans outpatient health clinic in Passaic County has cleared a major hurdle in the House of Representatives.
Pascrell's request for the clinic was included in the FY 2002 VA-HUD Appropriations Bill, which passed the key subcommittee yesterday. The new clinic is one of only five throughout the nation approved by the Committee, and the only one in New Jersey.
"Passaic County's 33,000 veterans should no longer have to compete with fellow heroes to receive the medical attention they need and deserve. We have no higher duty than to provide the very best health care possible to the men and women who served our nation," stated Pascrell, a veteran of the U.S. Army and Army Reserve. "I am very pleased that our call for a new health clinic for our veterans in Passaic County is close to reality.
Pascrell wrote to Committee Chairman Rep. James Walsh, Republican of New York, on May 1st requesting support for the clinic. In his letter, he stressed that, "As our veterans age, their health care needs are ever increasing, yet the health care centers that serve these veterans are insufficient."
"It's important for the VA to understand that New Jersey's veterans need increased, easier access to medical care. Opening a clinic in Passaic County, like the one I got for Morris County, is a good step in improving access to routine health care for veterans in northern New Jersey. I will continue to work to make sure that this provision stays in the bill so that Passaic County's veterans can have the same access to care." Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, member of the subcommittee, and veteran himself.
Pascrell's Veterans Advisory Committee, a group of veterans from throughout his congressional district, has been instrumental in supporting the effort to establish a new health clinic. The panel works with Pascrell on a regular basis to address the day to day needs of veterans in New Jersey.
Pascrell stressed to the Appropriations Committee the ever-increasing need for additional health care facilities in North Jersey. Too often, hospitals and clinics such as in Hackensack are overcrowded and unable to handle the volume of veterans needing care.
Pascrell has been a vigorous advocate for veterans since being sworn into Congress in January of 1997. He has held several registration drives in the 8th Congressional District to get local veterans registered with the VA, and has authored the Veterans Right to Know Act, which would ensure that all veterans are informed as to their benefits and how to receive them. The bill currently has 78 bipartisan cosponsors.
"There is a great deal we can and should do for those who gave so much, and at the top of the list is providing accessible medical attention," Pascrell added. "This is a growing crisis in our area and it must be addressed now."
The other areas throughout the country slated to receive new outpatient clinics are Toledo, Ohio; Tammany Parish, Lousiana; Montrose, Pennsylvania; and Storm Lake, Iowa.