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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

9th District Congresswoman Erin Houchin visits Bedford, Indiana

BEDFORD - AUGUST 2, 2023 - 9th District Congresswoman Erin Houchin visited area veterans at the Golden Corral in Bedford on Wednesday morning.

Lawrence County Veterans Officer Brad Bough organized today's event to allow veterans to discuss matters that are affecting them.

Brad Bough, continues to try to get a veterans hospital located in Bedford, Indiana especially following the closure of St. Vincent's Hospital.

Video: Erin Houchin visits Bedford

Lawrence County Commissioner Wally Branham told the group there have been interest in the closed St. Vincent Ascension Hospital from three groups. However, the talks remain secret to the community until the City of Bedford decides what kind of facility needs to replace it; such as an apartment building or health care facility.

Photo: 9th Congress woman Erin Houchin talks with (left to right) Mitchell Mayor Nathan Jenkins, Lawrence County Sheriff Greg Day, and Lawrence County Councilman Rick Butterfield about local issues

Photo: Army Veteran Barry Majors asked Houchin about getting travel vouchers for veterans who are having to travel long distances to get to facilities or hospitals

Lawrence County Veteran Barry Majors who served in the Army during the Vietnam War from 1971 - 1972 asked Houchin about at least getting a travel voucher for veterans having to travel long distances to appointments and clinics in the State of Indiana. This service is not offered to the veterans having long distance to travel.

Houchin says they have been working on options for the veterans to at least be able to use their cards like Medicare and Medicaid cards at hospitals and facilities when there is no local veteran clinic or hospital in the area.

According to Bough, Southern Indiana is in a healthcare desert now, especially for women veterans with no OB hospitals in Lawrence County.

Houchin adding that St. Vincent Hospital in Salem has just closed leaving women to scramble for OB health care in southern Indiana.

Houchin encouraged the veterans to document the issues they are having and send them to her office. This will help give evidence and better better understanding of the issues and may get the issue resolved sooner rather than later.

Photo: Lawrence County Commissioner Wally Branham says " It will take a act of Congress to get the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to respond to an issue in his commissioner district

Lawrence County Commissioner Wally Branham asked Houchin what it would take to get the Indiana Natural Resources to his return his call. An area in his commissioner district is having erosion issues, damaging roadways. The issue predates his tenure as county commissioner but the state agency has not acted or communicated with county offices refusing to respond to their requests.

" This literally will take an Act of Congress, to get this issue resolved or at least someone to talk to me," said Commissioner Branham.

Commissioner Branham is trying to get the State of Indiana to remediate and pay to fix the issue.

If county government is having difficult just how hard it is for the residents of the state to get the state agency to respond to their needs and concerns.

" We talk of veteran access however, if you look at our own county. We stuck the veterans in the bottom of the Lawrence County Courthouse out of sight and mind of the community. We need the local office in a better location so our veterans have better access," stated Steve Warren. " Our older veterans do not want to use a phone, computer or go on-line for services, they want to go talk to someone in person," added Warren.

9th Congresswoman Erin Houchin talks with local vet Steve Warren

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