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  • Writer's pictureKieran M. Lalor

LALOR: Don’t Let Feds Shut Down Castle Point Veterans Hospital

This morning I read in the Military Times that the VA is considering shutting down the Castle Point VA Medical Center in Dutchess County.

That VA hospitals are on the chopping block is disgraceful and short-sighted. The federal government has money to pay people who don't want to work and has no problem subsidizing illegal aliens, for example. But somehow there isn't enough money in the till to properly fund veterans healthcare.

With regard to Castle Point specifically, some bean-counter in Washington DC is basically saying veterans in Dutchess County or Orange County can just go down to Montrose to get care. That is not acceptable or feasible. Many of our vets have trouble getting transportation to and from Castle Point. Now the VA wants them to go to Westchester.

From the Military Times article, "Congress mandated a reassessment of VA’s nationwide infrastructure in 2018 as part of a review styled after the military base closing rounds of the 1980s and 1990s. Under the plan suggested by McDonough, 17 medical centers in twelve states would be completely closed. They include three sites in New York state (Castle Point, Manhattan and Brooklyn), and two sites each in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia and Coastesville), Virginia (Hampton and Salem) and South Dakota (Fort Meade and Hot Springs)."

In these times of hyper-partisanship, I am hopeful that lawmakers and leaders from all parties and ideologies can come together and preserve VA healthcare options for our vets in general and save Castle Point in particular.

There are approximately 13,000 veterans living in Dutchess County. Many utilize Castle Point which includes medical and long-term care, as well as important services for veterans' mental health and substance abuse treatment. In 2017, Castle Point received a rare 5/5 star rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs own rating system for its nursing home facility which houses our nation's heroes. Veterans from outside the area are often directed to Castle Point for services as well.

Our veterans and their families rely on Castle Point for its many services, particularly during the COVID crisis that has devastated our elderly population in the last two years. Castle Point serves veterans with both medical and care needs and also gives veterans of any age a sense of purpose and community whether it be through veteran food drives, veteran care services or patriotic ceremonies overlooking the majestic Hudson River. Castle Point has a history of honoring our heroes of both today and yesterday in New York. We need to fight like Hell to keep it open.

Contact VA Secretary Denis Richard McDonough Today!

Tell him not to close Castle Point or any other VA Hospitals.

Denis Richard McDonough

Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs

810 Vermont Ave, NW

Washington, DC 20420


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