BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — Southern Tier Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) is pushing to keep a veterans clinic in Bainbridge in Chenango County. The Democrat asked about a proposal to move the clinic during a hearing for the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee this week.
Brindisi says he’s worried about how access to the veterans clinic will change if a VA proposal to move it to Oneonta goes through. His predecessor, Republican Claudia Tenney, made similar testimony during her time in office pushing to keep the clinic in Bainbridge.
“Over 3,600 veterans reside in Chenango County and any potential move of the CBOC out of the Bainbridge area would have a tremendous impact on the veterans and their families in having access to VA care,” Brindisi said, noting that the clinic operates over capacity. It also serves veterans in several other counties, primarily Delaware and Otsego.
“One of the difficulties at the current location is the lack of public transportation,” said Richard Stone, Executive in Charge at the Veterans Health Administration. “Many of our veterans need help getting there, so we’ve considered moving about 20 miles away to an area that does have public transportation.”
Stone said the size of clinic is an issue. More space is needed. Right now, the clinic occupies about half the building. The current landlord has told WSKG he’s willing to let the VA rent the entire property to fit any need.
In addition, Stone’s worried about the area around the clinic. “We’ve also got some issues in the surrounding buildings on this as far as the safety of the area,” he said.
Stone added that the search for a new space for the clinic is still in the early stages. The lease is up in 2021. He said he’s willing to work with Brindisi’s office to address concerns.