© 2023 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Stefanik urges Army to reconsider closure of River Hospital PTSD program

Zach Hirsch
NCPR (file photo)
Rep. Elise Stefanik speaking in Plattsburgh on Memorial Day.

This summer, Army officials say they’ll pull the plug on a post-traumatic stress treatment program for Fort Drum soldiers. It’s the program at the River Hospital in Alexandria Bay, about a half hour away from the base. Under the Army’s orders, it’ll be replaced with mental health services on Fort Drum.

North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro) says she’s urging the Army to reconsider.

Speaking after a Memorial Day ceremony in Plattsburgh, Stefanik – who sits on the House Armed Services Committee – said she’s still trying to “get the exact reasoning behind the decision.”

“My entire staff is focused on this issue. I’m personally focused on this issue. I’m in personal contact with the head of the River Hospital and with members of the U.S. Army to get to the bottom of this,” said the congresswoman.

Stefanik said she’s met some of the soldiers in the River Hospital’s outpatient PTSD program. She said the Army should consider their perspectives before finalizing the decision.

But the program is already slated to end in July. Asked if it’s realistic to think that the closure could be reversed, she said her team is still looking at all the options.

“My job is to make sure again that our service men and women have the best quality of care that they can possibly have. So – those conversations are continuing.”

Ben Moore, River Hospital’s CEO, said the Army didn’t give him any warning about the decision to end the program. According to the Watertown Daily Times the hospital was actually planning to expand its mental health services. That project is now on hold.