Today, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) sent a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough, urging the agency to reopen a VA clinic in Lewis County, after the Chehalis clinic was closed in 2021.
Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez also delivered a petition with over 16,000 signatures from veterans, caregivers, and Lewis County community members urging the VA to meet its fundamental promise to take care of veterans by reopening a clinic in Lewis County.
When the Congresswoman has met with veterans in Lewis County, they have expressed that, in some instances, they wait hours on hold for appointments that are scheduled months away and require hours of driving. She has also spoken with patients and providers at the VA Puget Sound’s Mobile Medical Unit that visits Chehalis one day a week with capacity to serve only 8 veterans each visit.
In September, Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez wrote to the VA Secretary requesting additional county-level data to address these issues, which the agency was unable to produce.
“By closing the Lewis County Community-Based Outpatient Clinic and replacing it with an inadequate Mobile Medical Unit, the VA Puget Sound Health Care System has put lifesaving care out of reach of many veterans. For these reasons, I urge you to reopen the facility in Lewis County,” wrote Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez in the letter. “In return for their service to our country, we must uphold our promise to ensure veterans have the access to health care necessary to lead a full and healthy life after their time in the armed services has ended. I am gravely concerned that the VA is not upholding this promise for the veterans of Lewis County. I stand ready to work with you to address these issues.”
Full text of the letter can be found here.