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Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter

Representing the 1st District of New Hampshire

New Hampshire Congressional Delegation Calls for Improved Facilities for Women Veterans at Manchester VAMC

October 5, 2017
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – Today, the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation is requesting that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs improve facilities for women veterans who receive care at the Manchester VA Medical Center. The current women’s facility was damaged during a catastrophic flood in July, and the delegation is urging Acting Director Alfred Montoya to use the rebuilding period as an opportunity to ensure women veterans, some of whom are survivors of military sexual trauma, are able to receive care in an appropriate setting.

“We write to you today to reiterate our concerns about the quality of care provided to women veterans that use the Manchester VAMC,” wrote the Members. “While we appreciate the work currently underway to repair the sixth floor Women’s Health Clinic, we remain concerned that the facilities are inadequately designed in the long term to accommodate women who often are survivors of military sexual trauma (MST) and other mental health disorders.  We share with you the common goal of ensuring quality and accessible health care for all New Hampshire veterans.  Improving the Women’s Health Clinic is an important step toward this goal.”

The letter, signed by Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), a Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) specifically calls for the Manchester VAMC to provide a separate entrance for women veterans at the center, to relocate the Women’s Health Clinic to the first floor or a separate building, and to improve medical spaces provided for women at the Manchester VAMC.

 

The full text of the letter is available here and below.

 

 

October 5, 2017

 

Alfred Montoya

Acting Director

Manchester VA Medical Center

718 Smyth Road

Manchester, NH 03104

 

Dear Director Montoya,

Thank you for your continued work as Acting Director of the Manchester, New Hampshire VA Medical Center (Manchester VAMC). We write to you today to reiterate our concerns about the quality of care provided to women veterans that use the Manchester VAMC.

While we appreciate the work currently underway to repair the sixth floor Women’s Health Clinic, we remain concerned that the facilities are inadequately designed in the long term to accommodate women who often are survivors of military sexual trauma (MST) and other mental health disorders. A recent New Hampshire Public Radio article detailed some of these concerns from courageous women like Cindy McGuirk. A Desert Storm veteran, she is a survivor of military sexual assault and is now diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Due to PTSD, riding the small, confined space of the elevator to the sixth floor with men is often a traumatic experience.

We respectfully request that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs make necessary changes and long term plans to care for women veterans at Manchester VAMC that will compassionately accommodate their unique needs. These changes include:

  • Providing a separate entrance for women veterans to access services at the medical center.
  • Relocating the Women’s Health Clinic either to the first floor or in a separate building on the premises.
  • Improving the medical spaces provided for women at the medical center, especially the Women’s Health Clinic.

We share with you the common goal of ensuring quality and accessible health care for all New Hampshire veterans.  Improving the Women’s Health Clinic is an important step toward this goal.

Thank you for your consideration of our request and we look forward to working with you to improve healthcare for our veterans.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Ann McLane Kuster                                                   Jeanne Shaheen

Member of Congress                                                   United States Senator

 

 

 

 

Carol Shea-Porter                                                        Margaret Wood Hassan

Member of Congress                                                   United States Senator

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