I was recently at the James E. Van Zandt Medical Center for a routine yearly checkup when it was made known to me the hospital doesn't provide some of the most basic services one would expect an institution such as this to provide.
These services include urology, podiatry, ophthalmology and anesthesiology.
In these cases, I'm told, only general assessments are performed and no surgeries are permitted. Needless to say anesthesiology doesn't occur yet there is that function on site. Furthermore, I was told in order to receive any of these services it would require a visit to one of the VA medical centers in Pittsburgh.
Finally, the center only has 11 operational beds, and most emergency services are performed in local hospitals and not on site.
As a member of the military for the last 12 years, and a veteran of the Iraq campaign, it worries me to think that medical support to veterans in Blair County and the immediate region are limited to mere checkups and outpatient services.
Why are the medical professionals on staff not allowed to perform their craft to the fullest? I'm sure these highly skilled professionals are more than willing and able to serve the veteran population in Blair County and its environs.
The staff members at Van Zandt are professional and dedicated public servants. They should be given the opportunity to help area veterans with complete medical support.
As for other veterans in the area, I suggest a degree of inquiry. Ask your elected officials to look into diminishing services.
Veteran's groups: Write your state and national headquarters and ask them to seek resolution from their level. Don't let these services disappear.
As a veteran "who shall have borne the battle," you deserve better.