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Shaheen, New Hampshire and Maine Congressional Delegations Raise Alarm in Response to DoD Plans to Restructure PNSY Health Clinic

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined members of the New Hampshire and Maine congressional delegations in requesting a briefing from the Department of Defense regarding its restructuring plans for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s Naval Branch Health Clinic. U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Angus King (I-ME), and Susan Collins (R-ME), as well as Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), and Jared Golden (ME-02) also joined the letter.  

The proposed plan may force more than half of the clinic's patients to seek care elsewhere, but according to DoD’s assessment of health care accessibility only half of TRICARE network providers within 30 miles of the PNSY clinic would be able to accept new patients, and only 1% of those providers have appointments available for new patients within one week as well as one month.  

“The PNSY outpatient clinic is the foundation for convenient, quality health care for thousands of active-duty servicemembers’ families, military retirees, and military retiree families,” wrote the lawmakers. “Therefore, we urgently request a briefing from the Department within the next 30 days to discuss its implementation plans for the PNSY outpatient clinic, the methodology and findings of its network assessment, its strategy to communicate to stakeholders and impacted patients in our communities, impact to the TRICARE network in the New England region, how this plan will impact the readiness of military forces, and the impact on the readiness of military medical providers at PNSY.” 

The full text of the letter can be found here. 

Senator Shaheen is a strong advocate for Shipyard workers and their families. Last month, Shaheen led a letter on behalf of the New Hampshire and Maine Senators to DoD leadership regarding a childcare policy going into effect that adversely impacts civilian families by displacing their access to services at the Shipyard. Senator Shaheen previously led the New Hampshire and Maine Congressional delegations in a letter to DoD expressing concern with an updated policy that reduced the paid administrative leave options available to public Shipyard workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, she has annually advocated for millions of dollars in funding for submarine workforce development training. In a government funding proposal released by Senate Democrats on the Appropriations Committee last month, Shaheen included $2.5 million in congressional directed spending to begin construction of a new child development center at Pease Air National Guard Base in New Hampshire that would provide childcare services for both the New Hampshire National Guard and the Shipyard.