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Assemblyman
Brian M. Kolb
Assembly District 131
 
Providing Adequate Care For Returning Troops
April 13, 2007

Members of our armed services provide us with the safety and security that continues to afford us the enduring freedoms that we enjoy every day. In return, it is only fitting that our government give these volunteers the recognition they deserve. This should extend to providing adequate health system options, especially for those who have sacrificed their health for our country's security.

I have long supported programs on a state level that provide active military personnel and veteran’s benefits like those found in the New York Patriot Plan that afford our armed services certain benefits while on active duty and flexibility while integrating back into civilian life.

Closer to home, I am deeply concerned with how the federal Department of Veterans Affairs is going to implement the realignment and enhance services at the Canandaigua Veterans Medical Center. It is vital for our federal government to provide the mandatory funding to ensure adequate support for services our veterans depend on, in a way conducive to the needs of our community. As the discussion of realignment of enhanced services at the Canandaigua Veterans Center moves forward, it is important that the public and the people served by the facility understand what the options (called business plan options or BPOs) are.

In total, nine BPOs have been identified for consideration; of the nine listed below, numbers 2, 7, and 9 are the three final options picked at a recent meeting of the Local Advisory Panel. Option number 2 received the most votes by the LAP; however, it would seem that many local stakeholders seem to favor option number 9.

BPO 1 – Accommodates residential and outpatient services in renovated buildings predominately in Courtyard 1.

BPO 2 – Replacement, Golf Course East. Would call for the construction of new residential and outpatient facilities in the eastern portion of the former Golf Course parcel near or along Chapel Street.

BPO 3 - Replacement, Golf Course East, plus Off-Campus Ambulatory. Builds a new residential facility in the eastern portion of the Golf Course parcel. Builds a new facility for ambulatory care off-campus in the immediate Canandaigua area.

BPO 4 – Replacement, Canandaigua Academy, plus Off-Campus Ambulatory. Builds a new residential facility in the parcel of land adjacent to Canandaigua Academy. Builds a new facility for ambulatory care off-campus in the immediate Canandaigua area.

BPO 5 – Replacement, Courtyard 1, plus Off-Campus Ambulatory. Builds a new residential facility in Courtyard 1, demolishing existing buildings. Builds a new facility for ambulatory care off-campus in the immediate Canandaigua area.

BPO 6 – Replacement / Renovation, Courtyard 1. Builds a new residential facility in Courtyard 1, demolishing existing buildings. Renovates Buildings 1, 3 and 4 for Ambulatory Services.

BPO 7 – Replacement, Northern Parcel. Builds new residential and outpatient facilities in the Northern portion of the site – the parcel of land roughly situated between Ring Road and Chapel Street.

BPO 8 – Full Replacement, Off – Campus Parcel. Builds new residential and outpatient facilities off-campus in the immediate Canandaigua area.

BPO 9 – This option was offered at one of the first LAP meetings by local stakeholders. This option would call for the renovation of buildings 1, 3, and 4 for outpatient care in phases. Demolish all of Courtyard 2 and build a new modern, one-story nursing facility. Use the balance of Courtyard 1 and the open lands elsewhere on the campus for re-use opportunities.

It is critical that veterans and their families evaluate each plan to be informed and most importantly tell their Congressional representatives what is needed most at our local VA Center. If you would like to know more, detailed information is readily available by e-mailing a request for a copy of the report at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us or calling my Geneva office at (315) 781-2030.

As the Veterans Administration moves to realign their services, I will call upon our Congressional representatives and the VA to not neglect the needs of veterans serviced by the Canandaigua and other area VA Centers. It is vital that our veterans and soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan receive the treatment and care they need.

 
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