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Veterans Protest Hospital Changes

Veterans protest in front of VA Hospital in Salisbury. hspace=2

A proposal to cut emergency services from the VA Hospital in Salisbury has drawn criticism from local leaders and veterans alike. Today, the center's patients took their disapproval to the hospital gates. Several dozen veterans and hospital staff spent the day in front of the VA Hospital in Salisbury waving signs that read "Honk if you Care" and "Save Our ER." The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has recommended the Salisbury facility outsource emergency and intensive care services to private hospitals in the region. The change would allow many veterans to seek emergency care closer to home. But Vietnam Veteran Zane Robertson says he would prefer to get all of his care at the Salisbury center: "We go to another hospital, we're not going to have people that take care of us the way we have our own here taking care of us," says Robertson. "This is a slap in the face to us veterans." The VA first announced its plan to cut ER services at the center in September. Opposition from patients, staff and local officials moved the Department to put the plan on hold pending further evaluation. That report is due in one week.