May 18, 2022

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Some Massena veterans dismayed with move of outpatient clinic to Potsdam | Overall health Issues

MASSENA — Some veterans who have obtained notification about the Section of Veterans Affairs Neighborhood Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) moving from Massena to Potsdam are not pleased with the news.

The clinic is currently located at the St. Lawrence Centre mall, but will be relocating to 201 Sector St. in Potsdam. VA officials say the new spot is somewhere around 18 miles from the latest place, is greater and more centrally located within just the county and will minimize the journey time for a lot of veterans. VA officials foresee opening the new clinic on Nov. 1.

The clinic’s operation will also adjust from the current contractor, Sterling Health-related, to STG International of Arlington, Va. Sterling Medical will carry on to offer care for veterans right until the new clinic is established up to guarantee no interruption in company.

Depend Philip W. Smith Sr., a retired Air Drive master sergeant with 22 decades of support between those who opposes the go. His spouse is also an Air Force veteran, and each use the CBOC in Massena.

Mr. Smith mentioned he has applied the clinic for 30 decades, like at Massena Medical center and St. Lawrence Centre.

Massena Medical center, then recognized as Massena Memorial Medical center, experienced operated the clinic considering that 1993 before the agreement was awarded to OnSite Occupational Health and Protection, Inc. in 2015 and relocated to the mall. Sterling Clinical Associates of Cincinnati took in excess of procedure of the clinic in August 2016. Now, the contract has been awarded to STG Worldwide after soliciting and getting features to present treatment to St. Lawrence County veterans.

Veterans ended up informed of the change by way of a letter from the retired U.S. Navy Capt. Frank P. Pearson, the director of the Syracuse VA Healthcare Heart. But, Mr. Smith reported, not every single veteran acquired a letter.

“That’s what’s actually upsetting to me, not only that a whole lot of individuals did not get the letter, but no a single allow any of the veterans know it was even going to transpire,” he mentioned.

He mentioned that when the clinic moved to the mall, it was due to the fact it was likely to be a lot more accessible, and it was.

“Believe it or not, it was a good facility. I’ve had good nurses, I’ve experienced a medical professional. I can not complain about it because I went from a dingy, hideous office environment in the basement of the clinic. I hardly ever noticed a health care provider. We had practitioners,” Mr. Smith reported. “Now they are supplying non-VA care providers exactly where you can get a doctor permitted, which is much more dollars that the authorities is expending and not getting the VA take treatment of you.”

Following receiving his letter, he posted in a “Memories of Massena, NY” team on Fb, inquiring if Massena armed service veterans understood that the clinic in the shopping mall would be closing in November.

He posted in section, “Why not have both of those (in Massena and Potsdam)? Now all Massena veterans and surrounding spot will have to journey to Potsdam. This is a genuine hardship for me as my wife is not able to journey any distance. We in no way been given enter for the assortment — it was decided without inquiring any veterans from our area by a Captain retired.”

Then the comments arrived, some agreeing with him, other folks disagreeing. Other individuals recommended producing to elected officers like U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as nicely as Rep. Elise Stefanik.

“That is sad news. A large amount of veterans have multi-clinical challenges which makes it extremely difficult to journey to another place. Specially in wintertime time when it can be dangerous with slipping. We hold finding this line about creating progress, I think they have that blended up with regress. I am fortunate to stay in Syracuse, with a single of the ideal VA hospitals in my viewpoint. I have a wonderful team of physicians that consider care of me. The personnel smile, say goodbye, and converse to you. I desire every single veteran could have the similar condition I have. Remain solid vets,” just one man or woman wrote.

One more wrote, “Not that I am in favor of the VA clinic moving to Potsdam, I talked with a single of the suppliers at the Massena Clinic. The corporation who presently runs the clinic misplaced the agreement. The new business made a decision to make the VA clinic far more accessible to more veterans by putting it a centralized spot for the county. The clinic sees people today from Gouverneur, Star Lake, and so on. Potsdam is absolutely much more handy for them. To be truthful, it still beats the three-hour generate to Syracuse. As to receiving community services, not all health professionals take VA sufferers. The VA pay scale is not extremely high.”

Neighborhood officers also chimed in.

“The Massena web page is a practical web site for lots of and also can help our regional mall’s profits stream, this company doesn’t have to go anyplace and it should not!! So quite a few have turn into accustomed to the products and services made available in Massena and are snug with the existing location,” Massena Deputy Town Supervisor Samuel D. Carbone Jr. wrote.

Mr. Smith also wrote to Sen. Schumer, soliciting his aid.

“Just asking yourself if you know our military services veterans VA Clinic at St. Lawrence Centre, Massena, NY will be closing in November. I am a 22-calendar year retired veteran Air Force, and my spouse is Veteran Air Pressure. We the two use the VA Clinic in Massena. I have utilised it for 30 yrs, when it was in a dungy basement at Massena Hospital and later on in a renovated area on the 3rd flooring of Massena Clinic. A couple many years ago, Kyle Johnson gained the bid and renovated a portion in the St. Lawrence Centre with a new thoroughly clean office — well staffed and easy to obtain,” he wrote.

Now, he explained to the senator, he had acquired via a letter that the clinic was moving to Potsdam.

“Why not have each? Now all Massena veterans and in just bordering region will have to travel to Potsdam. This is a genuine hardship for me, my wife is unable to journey any length. We under no circumstances acquired enter for the assortment — it was made a decision devoid of asking any veterans from our space,” Mr. Smith wrote. “Senator Charles Schumer, I urge you to see if Massena can retain the VA Clinic that is currently being used by hundreds of veterans.”

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