CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Proposed drastic cuts to Veterans Affairs Medical Centers across the nation, including three in West Virginia, will not happen, according to U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).

In April, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs issued a report that recommended three VA medical centers in the Mountain State be greatly scaled back.

Had this happened, services at the Clarksburg, Huntington, and Beckley VA hospitals including the emergency rooms, surgeries and most of the inpatient services would have been eliminated, leaving the facilities to run more like urgent care clinics than hospitals. The US Senate was supposed to confirm nine White House appointees to the VA’s Asset and Infrastructure Review Board to make those cuts, but senators are refusing to confirm those commissioners.

“And we said, “This will be destructive, truly destructive to rural America and rural West Virginia, to the quality of care that we can give in our Veterans Services,” Manchin said.

“Give the facilities in this state the ability to keep taking care of America’s heroes – the veterans of today,” said Kevin Light with West Virginia Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Leaders in the state were concerned the proposal would both make it more difficult for veterans in West Virginia to access medical care and negatively impact economic development efforts within the state. Leaders were also worried losing the services at the hospitals would mean veterans would be sent to the smaller, already over-burdened VA medical outpatient clinics around the state, affecting the quality of care at those facilities.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito had also previously joined the chorus of people speaking out against the now-defunct proposals.

“And I said, “We can’t do this to our West Virginia veterans,” and we were sucessful,” Capito said following the announcement that the proposals were off the table. “So that is no longer hanging over our heads, so we’re very pleased with that.”

Capito made her announcement while touring Leslie Equipment in Cross Lanes and Manchin was at the Veterans Memorial on the State Capital Grounds.

In all, 12 bipartisan US Senators opposed this commission, so there was no way it could get approved. Aside from West Virginia’s two senators, both Ohio Senators, Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman also said no.