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Washington, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Craig Thomas, Mike Enzi, and Rep. Barbara Cubin, all R-Wyo., are pleased with an announcement made today by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to maintain the services provided by the Cheyenne VA Medical Center (VAMC) until further review.

VA Secretary Anthony Principi agreed with a recommendation by the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) Commission that the Cheyenne facility should retain its inpatient care mission until the Veterans Rural Access Hospital (VRAH) policy, currently being developed by the VA, is completed.

The policy is expected to provide a detailed definition and framework for assessing the clinical and operational characteristics of small and rural facilities. Once the policy is approved, the VA will review the scope of the Cheyenne VAMC surgical services to determine whether it meets the criteria for surgical practice as defined in the VRAH.

"The Secretary's decision recognizes the unique health care issues facing veterans in Wyoming and the high quality of care provided by the Cheyenne facility. We look forward to reviewing the VA's assessment and hope its rural access policy will acknowledge the vital services provided by the hospital to veterans."