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Home   /   Capitol Connection   /   Capitol Connection 06/23/2006

 
Veterans’ Community Based Outpatient Clinic Approved for Franklin

Today at the American Legion Post 108 in Franklin, I was proud to announce that a new Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) has been approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide needed care to veterans west of Asheville. The new CBOC – which will open in Franklin – is part of my comprehensive plan to modernize health care facilities in Western North Carolina.

About 80% of the health care provided by the VA is in the form of outpatient care. The new CBOC will serve as an extension of the existing VA Medical Center in Asheville that already provides highly specialized care to WNC veterans. Specifically, the new CBOC in Franklin will provide both primary care and mental health services to an estimated 3,200 veterans each year.

I want to personally thank former NC Senator Bob Carpenter, who was in attendance for today’s announcement, for his tireless advocacy efforts to make the Franklin CBOC a reality. In July of last year, Secretary Carpenter and I with VA Secretary James Nicholson in Washington, DC to lobby in support of the Franklin CBOC.

This new clinic will allow veterans to receive medical care much closer to where they live, without having to make the long trip to Asheville every time they need to see a doctor. Our veterans certainly deserve the best in health care, and this CBOC – combined with the improvements already made at the VA Medical Center in Asheville – will provide much greater access to health care.



Free Credit Monitoring for Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that it will provide one year of free credit monitoring to people whose sensitive personal information may have been stolen last month when an employee compromised 26.5 million of our veterans’ identities. I am still outraged by the fact that a federal employee would commit such a severe breach of national security by removing the identities of former military personnel from a secure location, but I am pleased to see that the VA is taking the necessary steps to rectify the terrible error that it made in this matter.

The veterans of WNC should be vigilant against the possible illegal use of their personal information stemming from this incident, and now, they have a way to make monitor their credit report without an extra charge. My staff and I are ready and able to help respond to any cases of identity theft occurring to veterans in our area, so please do not hesitate to contact my Asheville office should you need assistance.

In the meantime, in order to get the most recent information regarding this issue, please visit www.firstgov.gov for more information. The VA also continues to operate a call center that people can contact to get information about this incident and learn more about consumer-identity protections. That toll free number is 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636). The call center is operating from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm (EDT), Monday-Saturday as long as it is needed.


56th Anniversary of the Beginning of the Korean War

 Also earlier today, in Black Mountain I had the privilege to join the North Carolina Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association and Consul Zha Hyoung Rhee from the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea to commemorate the 56th Anniversary of the Beginning of the Korean War. It was moving to have the opportunity to honor those who proudly served our country and for those who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives to defend freedom.

We honor our war dead today by gathering at special events such as this and by ensuring that their brothers in arms hold a special place in our communities. In just over three years of the Korean War, 33,651 American soldiers gave their lives for our country; 784 of those were from North Carolina.

I am reminded of the words etched into the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC that say, “Freedom is Not Free.” We all need to remember that this war was anything but free. During the time of conflict:

  • 1.8 million served during period of hostilities
  • 4,793 died while missing in action
  • 92,100 service members were wounded in theater, some several times

I am proud to have been part of this event to properly honor all of the veterans of the Korean War, and to recognize our nation’s strong and lasting partnership with the Republic of Korea.