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U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen met with veterans and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials in Gorham and Littleton this afternoon to discuss historic reforms to the VA that will greatly improve New Hampshire veterans’ access to health care, particularly those in the North Country. Shaheen toured the Littleton Community Based Outreach Clinic where she learned about the services offered by the clinic and in Gorham also met with members of the North Country Veterans Council to hear about the challenges they face seeking health care. Last week the Senate passed bipartisan legislation that would boost access to health care for New Hampshire veterans by allowing those who live more than 20 miles away from a full service VA hospital to seek care from private providers closer to their homes.

“New Hampshire veterans have for too long faced unique challenges accessing health care,” Shaheen said. “The fact that our state doesn’t have a full service VA hospital has resulted in some veterans having to drive long distances – sometimes even hours – to get the care that they need. That was unacceptable. But last week, after years of hard work, we made good on our promise to our veterans by passing a bill that will allow our veterans to soon be able to receive health care in their local communities. This is a huge win for veterans in New Hampshire.”

In the Senate Shaheen has made improving New Hampshire veterans’ access to health care a top priority. The first piece of legislation she introduced in the Senate was a bill to give veterans in New Hampshire access to a full-service VA hospital or equivalent services. Earlier this year, Shaheen announced that the VA would be opening two new health care facilities for North Country veterans in Colebrook and Berlin. The part-time health care clinics will help serve more than 2,500 veterans in local and surrounding areas.