Plan recommends closing number of Veterans Affairs hospitals

NEW YORK (WABC) -- An 82-page plan, drafted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recommends closing a number of Veterans Affairs Hospitals - among them, Castle Point in Dutchess County.

Castle Point is where Purple Heart recipient Sharon Toney-Finch seeks treatment for a traumatic brain injury.

"Why as veterans should we have to worry where we are going to go when it is right in our backdoor?" said Toney-Finch.

It is estimated that Castle Point serves some 40,000 veterans in Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties. Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan is a veteran and says the need is growing.

"It's not a time we should be defending our services," Ryan said

Proposed cuts could also affect the Northport VA on Long Island and some services at various NYC VA centers.

Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis is also pushing back about cuts for veteran care on Staten Island. Republicans and Democrats are on the same side in this fight.

"Veterans have gone to battle for our freedoms - they shouldn't have to fight for their healthcare now that they're home here," said Senator Schumer.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says its recommendations are just that, and any infrastructure changes could be years away and dependent on Congress.

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