By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader
June 14. 2018 10:12AM
Acting VA Secretary Peter O’Rourke
MANCHESTER – Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Peter O’Rourke has agreed to recommendations fashioned by a local task force to upgrade veteran care in New Hampshire, recommendations that fall short of opening a full-service VA hospital here.
The 29 recommendations were formulated by the Vision 2025 task force and endorsed in April by the VA’s Special Medical Advisory Group.
In short, they call for modernizing and specializing the Manchester VA Medical Center along the lines of mental health care, radiology and a center of excellence for amputation care.
It also calls for a Manchester “whole health community center” outside the VA campus and a combination of community-based outpatient centers in Somersworth and Portsmouth.
“The committee’s ideas, input and support are most helpful and have assisted the VA in making critical improvements,” O’Rourke wrote to Dr. Jonathan Perlin, the chief medical officer of Healthcare Corporation of America and a member of the Special Medical Advisory Group.
In a statement issued Thursday, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., said she is disappointed that the recommendations do not include a full-service hospital but is pleased to see an emphasis in community-based care, mental health, pain