American Legion challenges major changes planned by Memphis VA Medical Center

Local legionnaires travel to Little Rock to address concerns

By Jerry Wallis American Legion Post 53, West Memphis Commander Jim Fiveash from American Legion Post 53, West Memphis traveled to Little Rock on Jan. 8, to address major changes planned by the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The Memphis VA plans to move all primary care physicians to South Memphis in July or August. This change will increase the travel distance for Veterans from Arkansas who receive their primary care at the Memphis VA Medical Center. Commander Fiveash explained to the Arkansas Combined Veterans Coalition this move will particularly impact Veterans living in Crittenden, St. Francis and Cross Counties as it will greatly increase the distance Veterans have to travel to their appointments. Commander Fiveash points out that the Memphis VA Volunteer Service provides no shuttle to these particular counties but does service West Tennessee and the Jonesboro area. The Memphis VA Medical Center explains the reason for the move is to reduce the parking congestion at the Medical Center. Commander Fiveash points out that many Veterans are on fixed incomes and struggle just to travel to the Memphis VA Medical Center, which is located at 1030 Jefferson Avenue. He also points out that the proposed change will require Veterans to travel South I-40 to the Memphis Airport area, where there are frequent accidents and traffic delays in the morning. Commander Fiveash made a counter proposal to the Veterans Coalition and Memphis VA Medical Center that a VA clinic be opened at the Old Crittenden Regional Hospital in West Memphis. He also presented the proposal for consideration to United States Arkansas Senator John Boozman and his staff. Commander Fiveash calls on all Veterans and Veterans Service organizations who will be impacted by this move to notify their US Senators and Representatives immediately as this change has not been announced to the public, yet is imminent. He further states the American Legion Post 53 in West Memphis will continue to challenge the move of primary care physicians by the Memphis VA and fight for a VA clinic in West Memphis. “The VA has to do right by our Veterans and the American Legion is here to make sure this happens,” Commander Fiveash announced to the Combined Veterans Coalition in Little Rock. “That is what we are charted by congress to do. Advocate for our Veterans.” Local veterans are asking for residents to contact their local veterans posts, congressmen, and any other official of the community, state, and nation as quickly as possible to “let them know we need something done for our veterans. Together our voices will be heard and our veterans will be helped.”

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