Shaheen, Ayotte Support Partnership Between Manchester VA Medical Center and Dartmouth Medical School
Senators urge VA Secretary to approve affiliation that would improve veteran care and research
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Continuing their efforts to facilitate access and improve care for New Hampshire's veterans, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today urged the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to approve an application to establish a partnership between the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) Manchester and Dartmouth Medical School. In a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, Senators Shaheen and Ayotte expressed support for the affiliation, which would dramatically enhance patient care and research by bringing together VAMC Manchester's patient care clinics and Dartmouth's resources as a world-class medical education and research center.
"We believe this agreement would help VAMC Manchester provide even better health care to our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country," the Senators wrote. "An affiliation between the two institutions would increase the depth of staff at VAMC Manchester by adding medical students, fellows and residents. Such an affiliation would also allow VAMC Manchester to increase its research in essential areas such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Cardiology, and Oncology."
Last year, the Senators introduced legislation that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure that New Hampshire has a full-service veterans hospital or contract equivalent. Shaheen introduced similar legislation in 2009 with former Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) as the first piece of legislation she introduced as a United States Senator.
New Hampshire's per capita veteran population ranks among the highest in the nation. Right now, the state has close to 130,000 veterans, and this number continues to grow as troops return from major deployments -- including the largest New Hampshire National Guard deployment since World War II. Yet New Hampshire is the only state that does not have a full-service veterans hospital or a military hospital providing equivalent care to veterans.
The full text of the Senators' letter is below:
Dear Secretary Shinseki:
We understand that the Veterans Administration (VA) is currently considering an application to establish an affiliation between Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) Manchester and Dartmouth Medical School. We write to request the VA's support for this application.
The VAMC in Manchester, New Hampshire, has been providing exceptional health care and internationally recognized research supporting America's heroes since 1950. Over 22,000 veterans in the local area rely on VAMC Manchester's urgent care, primary care, mental health, and four community-based outpatient clinics to improve their health and well-being.
As you know, VA Hospitals often rely on sharing agreements and affiliations to enhance their services and increase capability. Dartmouth Medical School is the nation's fourth oldest medical school, combining the resources of an Ivy League institution and a world class medical center for education, research and service.
We believe an affiliation between VAMC Manchester and Dartmouth Medical School would provide major benefits to the veterans of New England. An affiliation between the two institutions would increase the depth of the staff at VAMC Manchester by adding medical students, fellows and residents. Such an affiliation would also allow VAMC Manchester to increase its research in essential areas such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Cardiology and Oncology.
We appreciate your long service to our nation and your continued leadership at the VA. Thank you for the VA's recent decision to allow the expansion of acute inpatient contract care at Concord Hospital. We request your support for the application to establish an affiliation agreement between Dartmouth Medical School and VAMC Manchester. We believe this agreement would help VAMC Manchester provide even better health care to our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country.