Feingold, Kohl, Moore Push for New Zablocki Spinal Cord Injury Unit

Existing Unit at Milwaukee Veterans Medical Center Does Not Meet Current Standards

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl and Representative Gwen Moore are pushing for construction to begin on the new spinal cord injury (SCI) unit at Zablocki Medical Center in Milwaukee. In a letter to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Jim Nicholson, the members of Congress reiterated their concerns that the existing SCI unit at Zablocki does not meet current standards of the Joint Commission, the organization which accredits hospitals, and requested that construction on the new unit begin as soon as possible.

“Our country can never fully repay our veterans for the sacrifices they have made for their country, but we must do all we can to ensure they receive the best medical care possible,” Feingold said. “A new SCI unit is critical for veterans in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest and its construction is long overdue.”

“It was an honor to work on bringing an investment of federal funding to a new, state-of-the-art Spinal Cord Injury Unit at the Milwaukee VA, and we are anxious to see the project get underway. The crucial medical work being performed at Zablocki is not easily replicated elsewhere, and we want to ensure that our veterans have access to the best care available. We look forward to working with the VA to provide the men and women of our armed services the first-rate facility that they have earned and deserve,” said Kohl, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who directed $32.5 million toward the Spinal Cord Injury Unit at the Milwaukee VA as part of the Senate’s FY2007 Military Construction Appropriations Bill.

“We’re talking about our nation’s veterans – heroes by any measure – who have lost the use of their legs and arms and often the ability to live independently,” Moore said. “A state-of-the-art SCI Unit is long overdue at Zablocki. Considering their many sacrifices, the least we can do is provide these veterans with the best technology available.”

In their letter to Nicholson, Feingold, Kohl, and Moore also thanked him for the VA’s commitment to open two new clinics in northwestern Wisconsin. The VA recently announced that clinics in Rice Lake and Hayward will be opening in June of 2007.

Contact: Zach Lowe (Feingold) – (202) 224-8657

Lynn Becker or Joe Bonfiglio (Kohl) – (202) 224-5653

Andrew Stevens (Moore) – (202) 225-4572

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