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The V-A has budgeted nearly 10 billion dollars to two contractors to provide rural healthcare services over the next five years.

 

Veterans advocate Dick Tobiason says why should six thousand veterans in central Oregon drive over the mountain, when they don't have to.

 

"I drove it for five years.  And I thought, why are we driving to Portland when we have marvelous medical care here.  I did a study with the help of county commissioners and the hospital's CEO and sent it to Washington and now the VA is doing it."

 

The immediate needs for the V-A clinic in Bend are knee replacement and cataract surgery.

 

This change is expected to significantly reduce the number of veterans who have to travel to Portland for services.

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