With local veterans and advocacy groups fearing the worst for the Brooklyn Campus of the Veterans Affairs (VA) New York Harbor Healthcare System, Councilmember Justin Brannan has sent a letter to the institution calling for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to issue a clear statement on whether or not the Brooklyn campus, the only of its kind in the borough, will continue offering inpatient care for the foreseeable future.
“I am extremely thankful to our nation’s veterans, and I am proud to represent a large veteran community in South Brooklyn,” said Brannan. “Those who have risked everything for our country deserve easy access to the care they need. To put it simply: they were there when our country needed them, so we must now be there when they need us. I strongly urge the VA to commit clearly and publically to keeping the Brooklyn Campus open.”
Brannan’s letter comes on the heels of a recent announcement that SUNY Downstate would be discontinuing its doctors’ residency at the VA facility’s ENT (ear, nose and throat) clinic, leaving Brooklyn-based veterans concerned that they would be forced to travel to Manhattan for care — and that an ultimate closure could be in the cards. According to a Downstate representative, whether or not to close the ENT clinic at the Brooklyn VA is a decision that would be made by the VA’s chief ENT, not SUNY Downstate.
“The irony is certainly not lost on me that I write to you the day after Independence Day,” Brannan wrote in the letter, dated Thursday, July 5.
The Brooklyn VA Hospital is located at 800 Poly Place.