Livermore City Council Votes To Oppose Possible Closure of VA Hospital
The Livermore City Council on Monday approved a resolution formally opposing closure or reduction of services at the Livermore Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Contra Costa Times reports (Brewer, Contra Costa Times, 5/10).
Former VA Secretary Anthony Principi last year announced plans to limit or relocate the Livermore facility's services as part of a nationwide restructuring of the VA hospital system. Principi called for Livermore's 40,000 square feet of outpatient clinic space to be relocated to a new 75,000-square-foot space in the East Bay and larger facilities in the Central Valley. He also recommended moving Livermore's 30 short-term beds and some specialty services to the VA medical center in Palo Alto (California Healthline, 4/27).
The council resolution comes before a Friday session in which a VA panel will hear public comments on the size and location of a new nursing home that would replace Livermore's 120-bed nursing home facility. Friday's session is the first of four public hearings on the nursing home.
Following the four sessions, the advisory panel will submit a list of as many as 20 proposals to the VA for approval. The panel will develop business models for the VA's top-three picks, with the final decision being made by VA Secretary Jim Nicholson (Contra Costa Times, 5/10).
Officials have discussed locating the outpatient clinic in Hayward, but a final decision has not been made, the Oakland Tribune reports (White, Oakland Tribune, 5/9).
According to the Times, Principi had proposed keeping a nursing home in the Livermore area but did not specifically promise the facility would remain at its current location.
Kerri Childress, a VA spokesperson, said Principi's words are being "broadly interpreted" to mean that a nursing home could be built somewhere in the Central Valley, where there is a growing veteran population.
Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena said closure of the Livermore facility would be "a devastating thing for veterans who rely on this hospital for medical service." He added, "It's time for us to speak out and support the facility" (Contra Costa Times, 5/10).