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Governor Signs Bill Allowing VA Doctors to Treat Vets at Any N.H. Medical Facility

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Peter Biello/NHPR
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Governor Chris Sununu has signed into law a bill that allows doctors at the Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center to treat veterans at private hospitals.

 

A flood at the Manchester VA Medical Center last year destroyed clinic space. In response, Sununu signed an executive order suspending state licensing requirements so VA doctors could use space at private hospitals like Catholic Medical Center. 

 

This law makes the executive order permanent.

 
Sununu says this law makes New Hampshire a leader.
 

"A leader," he says, "not just amongst ourselves and amongst New England, but nationally, in terms of really finding a new model, challenging ourselves to do things a little differently, find that new model, all with one goal: better results."

 

Under this law, VA doctors will be able to treat veterans at private hospitals, but vets will still be required to arrange visits through the VA.

Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, is a co-sponsor of the legislation. He says it will allow veterans to get care closer to home.

"This is history in the making because veterans have an opportunity now," he said. "Even though we don't have a full-service hospital, this almost makes it as a full-service hospital."

New Hampshire is the only state in the lower 48 without a full-service VA hospital, which typically offer a braoder range of services.

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered and Writers on a New England Stage at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer/announcer/host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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