In The News

KGNS: Local Hospital Stay Now an Option for Eligible Veterans

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LAREDO, Texas, February 23, 2015 | comments
Updated: Mon 10:43 PM, Feb 23, 2015
By: Valerie Gonzalez Email

Local veterans will now have more options when it comes to where they can receive medical attention. The changes have just taken effect, and the official announcement will come Tuesday at the Texas Valley Coast Bend Health Care System.

The fighting in Vietnam may have ended 40 years ago, but Valentin Cuellar still values the joy of living each day. "I was 18 months in the battle zone on board a ship. I was lucky to come back alive."

Nowadays, Cuellar is a veteran who like many deals with medical issues. When vets like him needed to go to the hospital, they had to go out of town to the VA medical facilities in San Antonio in order for the veterans affairs office to cover their expenses. Now, they have another option.

The contract with the local hospital, the Laredo Medical Center, will allow for eligible veterans to receive emergency and surgical care. It's an option that took some time to craft for Congressman Henry Cuellar. "This is exciting because we've been trying to do this for ten years."

Congressman Cuellar's administration worked with the VA and the local hospital to make this agreement possible as of February 1st. Valentin is glad for the changes that couldn't come soon enough. "That's a great thing that this has come about, finally!" He is glad he will be able to take advantage of this option, and he also feels some relief when he considers some of his older friends who had to take long trips to San Antonio for medical treatment in the past. "It's a great benefit, especially for the elderly, especially for the WWII veterans - the few that we have."

Local veterans who would like to take advantage of the agreement need to contact a VA representative to understand their options and work out the details.
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