POSTED: Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 4:49pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 11:03am
Congressman Ruben Hinojosa held a public hearing today at the Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen. There was one topic that took center stage.
“We need some healthcare here, this is not right,” said Vietnam veteran Jose Maria Vasquez.
The new Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Surgical Center was supposed to be expanded into a full veteran’s hospital. Those plans have stalled.
“They say they have a builder and it might take ten years,” says war veteran Ruben Cantu. “Ten years! Are you kidding me? Let's be realistic. Where are you going to be in ten years?”
Cantu believes it is unfair that some Valley veterans have to travel to San Antonio to receive proper medical treatment. He wants additional health care options for both current and future veterans, and believes expanding the surgical center into a hospital will provide an answer.
“And if we don't do it then when they come back they are going to have to start from square one,” asks Cantu. “Time is running out.”
Vazquez feels the same way, “Everyday there is not a veteran's hospital that is another person dying.”
War veteran leaders say that if a hospital isn’t put in place soon then protests and rallies may start back-up. Congressman Hinojosa believes he has a plan.
“We need a minimum of 20 beds or more and an emergency room capable of taking care of any emergency, says Hinojosa.
However, the Department of Veteran Affairs says it may be a long time before this plan goes into effect.
Forcing veterans such as Cantu to wait even longer, “We are running out of time.”