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Veterans' Center Move Does Little to Lessen Transport Costs

July 11, 2007 — When the Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic at Buccaneer Mall on St. Thomas moves to Havensight Mall on July 31, St. John veterans will still face transportation issues.
"It costs a veteran $40 to $50 for transportation to St. Thomas," Jerry Runyon said. Runyon is the post commander at Viggo E. Sewer Post on St. John. Veterans must either take their car on the barge, which costs about $40, or take the ferry and a taxi or a bus to the center.
The center at Buccaneer Mall will close July 27 to facilitate the move to Havensight Mall.
Runyon hopes that when the VA opens a permanent facility on St. Thomas, planned for the next few years, it would be at a location more convenient for St. John veterans. He suggested Red Hook as a possibility, since the ferry service connects Red Hook and Cruz Bay.
“It's important that all St. John veterans sign up for services so the VA will see that the need is there,” Runyon said.
He believes many St. John veterans do not enroll for services at the St. Thomas facility because it's too inconvenient. However, the financial savings are considerable.
The VA plans to hold a meeting in August to hear their concerns and explain future plans.
The Veterans Center provides preventive services including immunizations, screening tests and health education. Additionally, it provides primary medical care, diagnosis and treatment, drugs and emergency care.
The staff refers veterans to the Veterans Medical Center in San Juan for specialty clinics, outpatient surgery, surgery, mental health and substance abuse treatment, home health care, respite and hospice care, emergency care and maternity benefits.
A request for information at the St. Thomas office was referred to the VA in San Juan. Messages were left with two different people in San Juan and were not returned; the phone also went unanswered numerous times.
You can reach the VA on St. Thomas at 774-5017 or in San Juan at 800-449-8729.
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July 11, 2007 -- When the Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic at Buccaneer Mall on St. Thomas moves to Havensight Mall on July 31, St. John veterans will still face transportation issues.
"It costs a veteran $40 to $50 for transportation to St. Thomas," Jerry Runyon said. Runyon is the post commander at Viggo E. Sewer Post on St. John. Veterans must either take their car on the barge, which costs about $40, or take the ferry and a taxi or a bus to the center.
The center at Buccaneer Mall will close July 27 to facilitate the move to Havensight Mall.
Runyon hopes that when the VA opens a permanent facility on St. Thomas, planned for the next few years, it would be at a location more convenient for St. John veterans. He suggested Red Hook as a possibility, since the ferry service connects Red Hook and Cruz Bay.
“It's important that all St. John veterans sign up for services so the VA will see that the need is there,” Runyon said.
He believes many St. John veterans do not enroll for services at the St. Thomas facility because it's too inconvenient. However, the financial savings are considerable.
The VA plans to hold a meeting in August to hear their concerns and explain future plans.
The Veterans Center provides preventive services including immunizations, screening tests and health education. Additionally, it provides primary medical care, diagnosis and treatment, drugs and emergency care.
The staff refers veterans to the Veterans Medical Center in San Juan for specialty clinics, outpatient surgery, surgery, mental health and substance abuse treatment, home health care, respite and hospice care, emergency care and maternity benefits.
A request for information at the St. Thomas office was referred to the VA in San Juan. Messages were left with two different people in San Juan and were not returned; the phone also went unanswered numerous times.
You can reach the VA on St. Thomas at 774-5017 or in San Juan at 800-449-8729.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.