Secretary Shinseki toured VA facility, joined members and local advocates to discuss improving veterans’ services

New Haven, CT –Representatives Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-3), Chris Murphy (CT-5), and Jim Himes (CT-4) welcomed Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki to the West Haven Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC).

“Government has few more sacred obligations than caring for the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country. When you hear the stories of our veterans, you know that we owe them a debt we cannot ever fully repay.   I thank Secretary Shinseki for joining us today on our tour of the West Haven VA facility for participating in a substantive and informative discussion about some of the issues facing our nation’s veterans,” said Congressman Himes. “While we have come a long way, it is clear we must work harder to enhance the services available to those who have served our country.”

Photos of the event may be viewed here.

Last year, the Connecticut Congressional delegation wrote to Secretary Shinseki to call attention to the deteriorating conditions at the Medical Center and to request major construction funding to help build an up-to-date facility. Since then, the delegation has worked to secure $11.6 million in funding in the 2010 VA-Military Construction Appropriations bill for improvements, construction, a surgical specialty clinic addition, an ICU step down expansion, and additional surgical specialty clinics.

“I was very pleased to welcome Secretary Shinseki to the West Haven veterans’ facility today and to have the opportunity to show him firsthand the great work being done and the continued need to make improvements so that this is a world class facility.  We heard today from experts in health care and veterans’ issues about the need to improve services, health care, namely mental health, Post 9/11 GI bill implementation and Connecticut VA facilities,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “We have a moral obligation to these brave men and women who have risked their lives for our nation. The least we can do to honor their bravery and their selflessness is help them get the health care and job training they need to thrive when they get back home.”

Secretary Shinseki joined members of the Connecticut delegation in touring the West Haven VAMC and discussed new ways forward to improving the facility. Additionally, the Secretary participated in a roundtable discussion led by Congresswoman DeLauro on the various issues facing veterans today with local Veterans Service Organizations, Connecticut VA representatives, members of the state legislature, and other veterans’ advocates.

"Our servicemen and women put their health and safety on the line to protect each of us, and when they come home, it's our responsibility to make sure they are well cared for. The West Haven VA Hospital is full of dedicated nurses, doctors and assistants who work hard to care for our veterans, but there's no question that the facilities here need improvements. I'm glad we got to show Secretary Shinseki the progress that's been made, and highlight areas still in need of upgrades to make West Haven a state-of-the-art center that our veterans can be proud of," Congressman Murphy said.