Convert St. Joseph’s to a VA

I was a bit dismayed to find that the Clarksburg VA Hospital was on the list of VA hospitals with long wait times for veterans. On May 29 of this year, I was scheduled in Clarksburg for a pulmonary test and a cardiac stress test, and although I could tell that they were on a tight schedule, I was treated with respect and professionalism as were the other veterans I talked to.

The parking lot is nearly full every time I go there so I know they deal with a large number of vets. I am glad that Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is demanding accountability for the Clarksburg facility and I am sure that she will continue monitoring their progress.

We are fortunate to have an excellent VA Clinic in Parkersburg, and I have received excellent service there, also.

I would like to encourage everyone concerned with the medical treatment of vets to call your Representatives and Senators to see if they could help convert the old St. Joseph’s Hospital to a VA hospital. Since the Clarksburg facility is not equipped to do major surgeries, we vets must go to Pittsburgh. In Parkersburg, we could have a surgical hospital like Pittsburgh, a facility like Clarksburg, which also treats vision and dental cases, or a facility to treat PTSD patients. The old St. Joseph’s Hospital is a fine building with terrific parking, so it could help alleviate the backlog of vets almost immediately.

In the June 6 edition of another publication, there was a front-page article: Senators broker deal on VA Care, Veterans can seek private care and 26 facilities will be built. To my knowledge, the House of Representatives has already passed a measure to give some short-term and long-term help. The Sanders/McCain deal in the Senate has not been voted on yet, but suggests $500 million of unspent funds be used to hire more doctors and health care providers and to begin building 26 new facilities in 18 states.

My point is we already have a facility here that could help the situation now. West Virginia is seemingly always short of revenue that selling the hospital to the VA would help West Virginia, local employment, and, also, help veterans.

We have the facility and veterans have the need, so maybe one or all of our Congressmen can find a solution. Let’s encourage them to try.

  • Sen John D. Rockefeller: 202-224-6472;
  • Sen Joe Manchin III: 202-224-3954;
  • Rep. Shelley Moore Capito: 202-225-2711, (304-925-5964 in Charleston);
  • Rep David McKinely: 202-225-4172, (304-422-5972 in Parkersburg.)

Gene Smith