FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2009
AUSTIN, TX — On Wednesday, May 6, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. passed House Concurrent Resolution 86 he carried for Rep. Aaron Peña in the Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee after it passed out of the House of Representatives urging Congress to support the establishment of a Veterans Hospital in the Rio Grande Valley.
"While a large number of veterans' medical needs can be handled in our Valley hospitals, the Valley Baptist Health System in Cameron and the South Texas Health System in Hidalgo, plus our two outpatient facilities in Harlingen and McAllen, we still need a hospital to fully meet the needs of our more than 100,000 veterans," said Sen. Lucio.
He explained that when veterans require procedures like organ transplants, bone marrow transplants and chemosurgery, they must travel to the Audie Murphy VA Hospital in San Antonio, a five-hour trip that is especially difficult for those who are very ill, aging and of limited resources.
"The medical personnel at mainstream hospitals and facilities usually lack the necessary expertise in treating the injuries and psychological trauma sustained by combat veterans," he added. "Veteran Valley residents, Winter Texan veterans and U.S. veterans who reside in Mexico comprise the Valley's veteran population. All of them deserve and need a fully staffed, full-service veterans hospital."
A group of Valley veterans attended the hearing. Mr. Homer Gallegos, chairman, Veterans Alliance of the Rio Grande Valley, and Mr. Emilio De Los Santos, director, Hidalgo County Veterans Services, testified for HCR 86.
Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. and Rep. Aaron Peña greet a Rio Grande Valley delegation of veterans visiting the Austin Capitol May 6 to voice support for their issues, including a Veterans Hospital in the area.