Oct. 16, 2012 — If a group called Citizens for Veterans Healthcare gets its way, there will be a new veterans’ hospital in Eastern Kentucky.
Citizens for Veterans Affairs asked Rowan Fiscal Court adopt a resolution to support such a facility in the Fifth Congressional District.
So far, the group has gathered 51,836 signatures, as well as signed resolutions from 26 counties and 50 cities, that support a veterans hospital in the Pikeville/Prestonsburg area.
Rowan Fiscal Court discussed the request at its last monthly meeting.
Judge-Executive Jim Nickell read the resolution to the group and said it was the second time he had received a request about the issue.
“My understanding is they want to build a privately-funded hospital,” he said. “I don’t see any way that this would affect any hospitals here. Most of our veterans go to Huntington or Lexington,” Nickell said.
According to Citizens for Veterans Health Care, www.vahospitalpetition.com, there are 3,339 veterans in the district.
The group stated:
“…there are countless stories of our U.S. veterans having to travel very long distances to receive their well-deserved medical benefits. These are honored men and women that have proudly served their country.”
Magistrate Harry Clark said a study should be done to see how a new hospital would affect UK Hospital in Lexington or Cabell-Huntington Hospital in Huntington.
Nickell said he saw no negatives with supporting the petition drive. The magistrates approved it on a motion by Clark and a second by Troy Perkins.
Citizens for Veterans Health Care will send the signatures and the petition to congressional representatives to ask for their support.
Citizens for Veterans Health Care is made up of four veterans and two civilians. Khrys Varney, spokesperson, said numerous county coordinators and volunteers are assisting with the effort.
Nicole Sturgill can be reached at nsturgill @themoreheadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.