SANTA FE, NM—On Friday, December 1, 2017, twelve New Mexico legislators sent a letter to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin to voice their support for improving access to advanced medical treatment for veterans living in Lincoln and Otero Counties. Their letter follows a similar request sent on October 12, 2017, by U.S. Senator Tom Udall, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, and U.S. Representative Steve Pearce.
The New Mexico legislators asked Secretary Shulkin to consider giving veterans living in Otero and Lincoln Counties the option of obtaining advanced medical services through VA facilities belonging to the El Paso VA Health Care System. Currently, veterans in need of advanced medical care in these counties must drive over three hours away to the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, NM, which is part of the New Mexico VA Health Care System.
“It seems arbitrary and unfair to force these veterans to travel over three hours when they could obtain the same services at a facility located just over an hour away,” the legislators wrote.
“While we understand that there may be administrative complexities in allowing these veterans to receive services from two VISNs [Veteran Integrated Service Networks], we believe we owe it to these men and women to identify ways to make it easier for them to get the health care they need,” they continued.
The following state legislators signed the letter to Secretary Shulkin:
- Yvette Herrell (District 51)
- James Townsend (District 54)
- Bob Wooley (District 66)
- David Gallegos (District 61)
- Zack Cook (District 56)
- Candy Spence Ezzell (District 58)
- Rick Little (District 53)
- Greg Nibert (District 59)
- Cathrynn Brown (District 55)
- William Burt (District 33)
- Ron Griggs (District 34)
- Cliff Pirtle (District 32)