Treasurer Stacy Garrity Calls on President Biden, VA Secretary McDonough to Fix Issues at Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center

Extreme restrictions on visitors are isolating veterans and should end immediately

Harrisburg, PA - Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity is urging President Joe Biden and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough to eliminate the harsh restrictions in place at the Wilkes-Barre Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center.

“The way veterans are being treated at the Wilkes-Barre VA is outrageous,” Garrity said. “Family visits are extremely limited. No volunteers are being allowed inside. And the veterans have not had any outings since March 2020. Meanwhile, federal guidance for nursing homes explicitly encourages visitors. No one can give a good explanation why our veterans are being treated differently and left to suffer in isolation.”

Pennsylvania State Treasurer, Stacy Garrity

Official guidance from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which regulates nursing facilities, says – very clearly – that “visitation must be permitted at all times with very limited and rare exceptions, in accordance with residents’ rights.”

Garrity wrote to President Biden and Secretary McDonough yesterday, calling on them to “to take immediate action to end these unconscionable policies.”

A veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves who served for three decades before retiring as a colonel, Garrity understands how important close family connections are to veterans. “When you serve in the military, family is always on your mind,” she said. “The heroes at the Wilkes-Barre VA deserve to spend time with their families and loved ones, they deserve comradery with each other, and they deserve visits from gracious and generous volunteers to lift their spirits.”

Garrity praised volunteers like Nicole Guest, a Navy veteran who has volunteered at the VA for nine years and organized a large “Free Our Veterans” rally at the facility in August.

“Sadly, it looks like the only way these extreme policies will be changed is with public pressure,” Garrity said. “And we won’t stop fighting until conditions improve for the veterans at the Wilkes-Barre VA. Isolation kills, and our ailing and elderly heroes shouldn’t be forced to spend their golden years in a bureaucratic form of solitary confinement.”

Pennsylvania State Treasurer, Stacy Garrity

Share on Social Media