Veterans Affairs


The VA has opened a new health clinic in Colebrook, part of a plan to expand coverage to veterans in the North Country.

It is using some exam room and office space at the Indian Stream Health Center, says Dr. Hugh Huizenga, the Chief of Primary Care at the White River Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

It is starting out two days a week but plans to expand to every weekday as new staffers are hired, he said.

It will offer services including primary care and mental-health counseling.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

New Hampshire’s US senators are holding a forum Tuesday afternoon to discuss the Veterans Administration’s new Choice Card program.

The program, established in the overhaul of the VA in 2014, allows veterans to use private medical providers if their VA center is too busy or too far away. The latter has been an issue in New Hampshire, a state in which the VA has facilities but no full-service hospital.

Jack Rodolico

Last April, the news broke that 40 veterans had died while waiting for medical care from a VA Hospital in Arizona. That provoked a national outcry at long wait times for sick vets.

Congress passed a $16.3 billion law to overhaul the Veterans Affairs Administration, and a crucial aspect of that law is now unfolding in New Hampshire. The idea is for the VA to pay for medical treatment outside the VA system.

Chris Jensen

Veterans in the North Country should soon find it easier to get medical care with a VA medical clinic in Littleton moving into a larger facility next spring and a new center opening this year in Colebrook.

A 10,000-square foot facility now under construction at the Mt. Eustis Commons on Cottage Street will be about twice as big as the clinic’s current home.

The Manchester VA Medical Center will host a town hall meeting later this month aimed at getting feedback on the quality of benefits and services being offered.

The Department of Veterans Affairs says the town hall meeting, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 25, is one of several being held around the country.

Veterans, their families and members of the public are encouraged to attend.

New VA Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald says the town hall meetings are part of an effort to improve services and to hear directly from veterans.

Digging Into Veteran's Health Care In N.H.

Jul 1, 2014
Thomas Fearon / NHPR

Reports of long wait times and false record-keeping at veterans facilities have rocked the country, leading to the resignations at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and a system-wide audit to get to the root of the problems.  We’ll talk with New Hampshire veterans and a top VA official here about how well this state cares for its veterans.


New Hampshire veterans who have been waiting more than three months for an appointment to see a specialist at the Manchester VA Medical Center now have the option of receiving treatment from a non-VA physician.

Staff at the center are in the process of contacting 118 Granite State veterans who are on an “electronic wait list” of former troops who have been unable to see a VA physician in 90 days or less, said Tammy Krueger, director of the Manchester VA Medical Center.

Veterans seeking an appointment at the VA Medical Center in Manchester were able to see a doctor in 30 days or less 98 percent of the time,  according to a nationwide audit released today by Department of Veterans Affairs.

But as many as 118 Granite State veterans waited 90 days or more for their first appointment, and 98 former troops who enrolled for treatment in the last decade have yet to see a physician in the VA network.

New Hampshire’s Senators say Veterans Affairs Secretary Erik Shinseki’s decision to step down was the right one.

Senator Kelly Ayotte says that more needs to be done to address the waitlist problems in VA medical centers but Shinseki’s resignation is a positive first step.

“We need to make sure that those who have committed the falsifying of records and misleading people should be fully pursued and prosecuted.”

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says he'll introduce legislation after the Memorial Day break that will improve accountability at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  The comments from the Vermont independent and chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee follow allegations that some Veterans Administration hospitals have been providing substandard care to their patients and falsifying records.  Sanders says his legislation would make it easier for a secretary of veterans affairs to remove a senior executive due to poor job performance.

Later this year North Country veterans will no longer have to travel to White River Junction for V.A. medical care: Clinics are now planned for Berlin and Colebrook.

The decision comes after several years of lobbying by the state’s Congressional delegation.

“Our North Country veterans are frequently confronted with travel of more than 130 miles and trips of two to three hours in duration,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Jeanne Shaheen and Representatives Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster wrote the department last year.

Paul W Hayes / Flickr Creative Commons

After more than a decade of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, American troops are coming home.  For many, it’s a wonderful time, to return to family and a normal life. But for veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, the transition is a rough road.   In New Hampshire, more a quarter who fought in these wars say they’ve struggled with PTSD, and a fifth with some kind of brain injury.

South Carolina
Staff Sgt. Shawn Weismiller / U.S. Air Force

The backlog of disability claims under review by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has shrunk dramatically since earlier this year. But the VA's offices in New England still have more than 18,000 pending claims. 


The Department of Veteran Affairs expects to spend $57 billion in 2013. A significant part of that budget pays for nursing home care for elderly vets. This month, Washington Monthly magazine is exploring American wealth. Editor John Gravois wrote about the V.A. program that follows the foster care model.

Healing the Wounds of War

Apr 24, 2012

After ten years since the War on Terror began, many service members have come back with visible injuries, but many others have come home with less obvious wounds associated with military service; like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and a high suicide rate. We’ll look at these problems, where the system is working and failing, and what some are trying to do to help. 


Photo: <a href="">Lucid Nightmare</a> / Flickr

Veterans in Coos County deserve a medical clinic in Colebrook, according to a letter sent to the Department of Veterans Affairs by Senators Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Charlie Bass.

“While Coos County’s population is small compared to the area covered, there are some 3,605 veterans in New Hampshire’s North Country, of which 1,821 are in the VA medical system,” the letter says.