Veterans call for suburban medical facility to stay open

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio (AP) - Some veterans have made a plea to the Department of Veterans Affairs to maintain their access to a suburban Cleveland medical facility.
About 250 people attended a meeting Monday at the Brecksville VA Medical Center, seeking answers about its fate. U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, whose district includes Brecksville, called the meeting.
Some veterans asked that the hospital stay open and not be consolidated with the VA's Wade Park Medical Center in Cleveland.
"Listen to us," said Vietnam veteran Robert R. Papesh, 55, of Ravenna, during the meeting. "This is the place we want."
The VA is realigning veterans' services nationwide.
William Montague, director of the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, which includes both the Brecksville and Cleveland Wade Park hospitals, told the people at the meeting that the Brecksville hospital, now used primarily for nursing care and as a homeless shelter, might close.
A decision has not been made.
After the meeting, George Cubbedge, a Korean War veteran from Parma Heights, questioned Montague's assertion that it would be cheaper to build a new hospital instead of renovating in Brecksville.
"It looks to me like they totally have things planned out," Cubbedge said.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)