Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Matthew W. Milam, Nelson T. Albano and Vincent Prieto to establish a task force to study and make recommendations on how best to build and operate a veterans’ health care facility in southern New Jersey was approved 79-0 Monday by the Assembly.
The bill (A-845) would create an 18-member task force to devise a plan for the veterans hospital.
“Our veterans deserve our best, and forcing our southern New Jersey veterans to travel long distances for health care is not acceptable,” said Milam. “We need to do better, and this task force will help us determine the best way possible to ensure veterans in southern New Jersey get the best health care possible.”
Southern New Jersey lacks a federal Department of Veterans Affairs inpatient veterans medical center, forcing veterans needing inpatient care to travel to veterans’ hospitals in northern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware.
The VA has small clinics in Ventnor, Cape May and Vineland, but they only perform some outpatient medical services and are often overwhelmed by a large number of veterans seeking care.
“These men and women fought to protect our freedom, and deserve a reasonably accessible hospital that can meet their often specialized health care needs,” said Albano. “Forcing them to drive long distances for health care is, quite simply, wrong. We need to fix this.”
The bill now goes to the Senate for final legislative consideration.