Congressional Spending Measure Keeps Veterans Clinic In Bainbridge For Now

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VESTAL, NY (WSKG) – This week, Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) highlighted language in the new federal spending bill that will keep the Veteran Administration’s Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Bainbridge open for now.

Gabe Altieri/WSKG

Bainbridge Veterans Clinic. Gabe Altieri/WSKG

The language was put in the spending bill recently passed by Congress.

“The VA has an obligation to serve our Veterans, regardless of how rural their community is,” Brindisi said. “To be clear: the Bainbridge clinic will remain open for now, but a more permanent solution is needed.”

It says the V.A. cannot use funds appropriated in the bill to move the clinic until a market area assessment is done that will show how veteran treatment would be affected.

The language does not guarantee the clinic stays in Bainbridge long term. The lease on the current building runs through 2021, but after 2020 the V.A. can vacate with 90 days notice.

For years, the V.A. has explored moving the clinic from Bainbridge in Chenango County about 30 miles northeast to Oneonta.

V.A. representatives have said Oneonta is more of a population center and more people who use the clinic live closer to the city than Bainbridge. WSKG examined that claim at the time using data from a Freedom of Information request and found it was false.

Most veterans who use the Bainbridge clinic actually live closer to Bainbridge than Oneonta.