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Paralyzed Veterans of America Pleased with Opening of SCI Unit at St. Louis John Cochran VA Medical Center
[February 21, 2014]

Paralyzed Veterans of America Pleased with Opening of SCI Unit at St. Louis John Cochran VA Medical Center

WASHINGTON --(Business Wire)--

In a statement released today, Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) National President Bill Lawson expressed the following regarding the recent opening of the St. Louis VA spinal cord injury unit:

"We are pleased that the six-bed spinal cord injury (SCI) unit at the St. Louis VA Medical Center is now open, and we commend the local VA leadership for their hard work to get the unit up and running. Paralyzed Veterans has worked closely with the VA medical center to ensure the highest quality of care for patients living with spinal cord injury (SCI) and/or disease. Having a specialty care unit now available for SCI patients will help ensure these veterans are getting the best care possible."

The St. Louis VA system of care is distnguished by having two separate facilities that offer different types and levels of care. The Jefferson Barracks VA facility provides veterans with basic, non-acute SCI services while those needing acute or emergency care are required to go to the John Cochrane VA facility where SCI-specific services were unavailable. This bifurcated system had historically created gaps in health care for veterans with paralysis, necessitating the 6-bed satellite unit. Four veterans who were admitted as soon as the unit opened are already benefitting from the specialized services the SCI unit provides.

Sherman Gillums, associate executive director of Veterans Benefits at Paralyzed Veterans added the following:

"The long overdue opening of the SCI unit at the John Cochrane VA Medical center in St. Louis answers a critical need for acute care services like cancer treatment and surgical procedures for veterans who also have special needs related to a spinal cord dysfunction. We have worked closely with members of Congress and hospital leadership to ensure that local veterans who need specialized care do not incur pressure ulcers, genitourinary problems, and other costly, avoidable afflictions while under the care of non-SCI providers, and we will continue to monitor quality of care issues just as we do at all VA SCI Centers across the country."

Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded by a group of seriously injured American heroes from the "Greatest Generation" of World War II. They created a nonprofit organization to meet the challenges that they faced back in the 1940s-from a medical community not ready to treat them to an inaccessible world. For more than 67 years, Paralyzed Veterans' national office and its 34 chapters across the nation have been making America a better place for all veterans and people with disabilities. (

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