Press-Republican

Health

March 1, 2014

Malone vet clinic closure delayed

MALONE — The closure of the Veterans Affairs Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Malone has been delayed for a month.

“This extension is good news for veterans in Franklin County,” Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) said in a news release.

“I am pleased veterans who visit the Malone clinic will have continued access to VA services at a convenient location for an additional month. 

“It is vital that the VA continue to provide veterans in the North Country with the best possible care.”

The clinic, located in Cedar Commons on Route 11, serves about 700 veterans in the area.

It was slated for closure last year, but Owens was able to help get that date pushed back to Friday, Feb. 28.

It is now March 31.

‘TOO EXPENSIVE’

The VA cited the high cost of treating veterans at the clinic as the main reason for closure.

Linda Weiss, director of the Stratton VA Medical Center for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Albany, said in a letter last year that the national average cost of treating a patient at a VA clinic was between $3,000 and $4,000 a year, but the Malone costs were about $11,000 per person, the third-highest in the country.

Also, the clinic could not be easily adapted for the advanced technology the agency started using, Weiss’s letter said.

The number of veterans using the clinic was also declining as veterans aged.

The Malone site is part of the 29-clinic health-care network the VA operates in Upstate New York.

It also includes sites in Plattsburgh, Massena, Saranac Lake and Westport.

Veterans will have to travel to one of those other facilities for treatment when the Malone clinic does close.

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

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