Department of Veterans Affairs Plans To Close Seven Hospitals, Open Two Others
Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs yesterday announced a proposal to close several hospitals, open others and refocus department health care services as part of a "major restructuring," the AP/New York Times reports (AP/New York Times, 8/5). The proposal is part of the VA Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services plan, which seeks to eliminate "outdated or underused facilities" and shift the focus of the department health system to outpatient care. Under the proposal, the VA would close seven hospitals, open two others and add 48 new clinics, according to department spokesperson Karen Fedele. The VA plans to close hospitals in Gulfport, Miss.; Lexington, Ky.; Waco, Texas; Pittsburgh; Canandaigua, N.Y.; Brecksville, Ohio; and Livermore, Calif.; and open facilities in Las Vegas and Orlando. In addition, the VA plans to open centers for the blind in Biloxi, Miss., and Long Beach, Calif., and spinal cord injury units in Denver, Little Rock, Minneapolis and Syracuse or Albany, N.Y. The proposal would cost an estimated $4.6 billion over 20 years. A 15-member commission appointed by VA Secretary Anthony Principi will consider the proposal in a series of hearings nationwide this year and make final recommendations in November. Principi will decide whether to approve the proposal in December (Dart/Eversley, Cox/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/5). Principi said, "I'm not trying to save money. I'm trying to transform an infrastructure that has been built or acquired over the past 50 years" (AP/New York Times, 8/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.