Pascrell Announces New Veterans Health Care Clinic for Passaic County
PATERSON - In front of a group of ecstatic veterans, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ, 8th) announced today that a new community-based veterans outpatient health clinic (CBOC) will be built in Passaic County. The clinic will be a part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) New Jersey Health Care System and will serve the estimated 30,000 veterans in Passaic County. Pascrell lobbied hard for the clinic, arguing that too often, VA hospitals and clinics such as in Hackensack and East Orange are overcrowded and unable to handle the volume of veterans needing care.
Pascrell announced the opening of the new clinic in front of his Veterans Advisory Committee, a group of veterans from throughout his congressional district that works with the Congressman on a regular basis to address the day to day needs of veterans in New Jersey. The panel has been instrumental in supporting the effort to establish a new health clinic in Passaic County.
The first major victory in securing the clinic was the inclusion of language Pascrell requested calling for the establishment of the clinic in the Fiscal Year 2002 VA-HUD Appropriations Bill. Pascrell stressed to the Appropriations Committee the ever-increasing need for additional health care facilities in North Jersey.
Despite a VA moratorium on all new CBOC's, Pascrell was able to convince VA Secretary Anthony Principi to promise, and deliver a clinic for Passaic County.
"Passaic County veterans will no longer have to suffer ridiculous wait times 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 is now a reality."
The location of the clinic will be determined in the coming month and the VA hopes to have the clinic operational in the next 8 to 12 months.
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.