VA Secretary McDonough shares how the Biden Admin. is helping veterans in Fargo
FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, a Stillwater, Minnesota native, comes to Fargo’s VA Medical Center to discuss how veterans benefit from President Biden’s Unity Agenda.
It includes a better national suicide prevention hotline for vets, efforts to reduce veteran homelessness and investing in a caregiver support program.
North Dakota State University’s partnership is a big help to Fargo’s VA center and McDonough hopes for it to continue.
“We are aggressively recruiting and investing in the retention of our healthcare professionals. The partnership that we have with NDSU and our residency programs both for specialty providers as well as for nurses leads to our ability to continue to staff up with these excellent clinicians,” McDonough said.
The Unity Agenda also prioritizes medical care by reducing costs for those who suffer combat injuries or breathe in toxic smoke in burn pits due to plastic, medical waste and other chemical mixtures.
“There are certain things that should be beyond politics. You wanna advance and one of those things is access to VA care and access to treatments for our vets who, over the course of the last 30 years of war, have been exposed to burn pits now suffer different medical conditions,” McDonough said.
McDonough is the second non-veteran to hold the secretary position and says healthcare providers and frontline workers at Fargo’s VA center deserve the highest praise because they put themselves at risk throughout the pandemic with their input and dedication.
“I’m particularly grateful to the wonderful team that Dr. Weintraub runs here. Maybe it’s the accents or something but as a Minnesotan they understand me. I understand them. It’s really great to be home,” McDonough said.
McDonough says it’s important to reduce costs and expand coverage of mental health for veterans for Mental Health Awareness Month.
Veterans and loved ones can use a new suicide prevention hotline made specifically for them. The number is 1-800-273-8255 extension 1.