Push to add veterans’ services at medical center

Jennifer Corr

April 14, 2021

Originally published in LI Herald on April 14, 2021.

State Sen. Kevin Thomas, joined by local officials, veterans and NUMC medical personnel, called on the federal government to fund expanded services and housing at the county's safety-net hospital.Image Credit: Jennifer Corr, Long Island Herald

For years, the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency’s more than 90 volunteers drove veterans to facilities like the Veterans Affairs hospital in Northport to receive specialized care, because services for veterans are limited in Nassau County.

But agency officials hope that President Biden’s proposed $2.7 trillion American Jobs Plan will allow veterans to access expanded services in their own county.

The county’s only safety-net hospital, Nassau University Medical Center, houses the VSA. But the services the hospital offers veterans are limited.

“That’s why I have asked Sen. Charles Schumer to include $85 million in the upcoming federal infrastructure bills to be used right here, at NUMC,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said outside the hospital on April 8, where she was joined by veterans, state officials and medical personnel. “It’s really important that we have something here and that we use the infrastructure that we have.”

The potential funding would be used to renovate the facilities at NUMC to include veterans’ in-patient services and specialized care, and to refurbish and upgrade unoccupied apartments on campus to create the county’s first veterans’ village.

“We would also like to use this money to establish a veterans’ adult day health care program by expanding services which are currently offered only at Stony Brook University Hospital,” Curran said. “So we want to put that in a restored building right here on this East Meadow campus.”

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State Senators Kevin Thomas and John Brooks said they stood with the county executive in requesting the federal funding. “Like so many other hardworking Americans, our veterans have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Thomas said. “Countless veterans have lost jobs, closed businesses and faced uncertain prospects as our state grappled with the pandemic. Our veterans answered a call to serve when our nation needed them. Now the nation must answer the call to serve our veterans.”

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Read the full story on LIHerald.com.