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Barrow urges action on VA clinic in Statesboro

        Congressman John Barrow urged that a Veterans Affairs medical clinic be built in Statesboro during debate last week in Washington on the 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill.
    “Community-based outpatient clinics play a vital role in meeting the health care needs of our veterans, especially in the rural parts of our country,” Barrow told Congressman Chet Edwards, chairman of the subcommittee handling the matter. “In my district, a 17-county area centered on Statesboro contains some 34,000 veterans. And I ask for your commitment, Mr. Chairman, to work in conference with the other body to look at this area and evaluate the need and determine the feasibility for a community-based outpatient clinic in Statesboro.”
    Local veterans have pushed for a clinic to be located in the area and expressed their concerns to Barrow, who represents Bulloch County in District 12, at a town-hall meeting of veterans held earlier this year. Among their concerns was the distance they had to travel for routine medical checkups or to get a prescription written.
    Barrow pledged at that meeting to advocate for a clinic in Statesboro, but cautioned that there were also other areas in the country that may have a higher need than this area.
    Edwards promised to work with Barrow to gather the information needed “to put the fact together to see if we can provide funding for the Statesboro clinic,” he said, according to a press release from Barrow’s office.
    As part of the efforts to get a clinic in Statesboro, Ray Hendrix is circulating a petition in Bulloch and surrounding counties to help persuade Congress to locate a facility in the area.
    Hendrix said he was very encouraged by the steps Barrow has taken to get the clinic for the veterans in the region.
    “This is, by far, the farthest we’ve ever gotten with this idea,” Hendrix said.
    So far, Hendrix has collected 3,000 signatures in Bulloch County and is confident there are at least 1,000 others in the various other counties.
    “As the population in Statesboro continues to grow, the need for a local VA clinic grows even more urgent,” Barrow said. “With a new generation of veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, we have a responsibility to provide them with the health care they were promised.”

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