VA Livermore Medical Center Slated To Close Under National Restructuring Plan
The Department of Veterans Affairs intends to close the VA medical center in Livermore as part of a national restructuring program announced Monday, the Contra Costa Times reports. Services provided at the Livermore facility would not be eliminated but would be relocated, according to Bill Ball, spokesperson for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, which includes the Livermore center. The facility has 120 nursing home beds, 30 sub-acute beds for short-term care, a pharmacy and outpatient primary and specialty care clinics (Brewer, Contra Costa Times, 8/5). Under restructuring plans, 80 of the nursing home beds would be moved to a hospital in Menlo Park, and the other 40 beds would be contracted to private medical centers in the Central Valley (Goodyear, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/5). Specialty clinics would move to the Central Valley, and some primary and specialty clinics could be relocated to the Fremont-Hayward-Pleasanton area, according to Ball. He added that the changes would take as long as five to seven years to implement. Under national restructuring, the Livermore center and six facilities in other states are slated to be closed, and several hospitals and clinics would be opened (Contra Costa Times, 8/5). Livermore has 350 employees and had 55,000 outpatient visits last year.
According to the Chronicle, veterans' advocacy groups are "alarmed by the proposal" (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/5). Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) is co-sponsoring a House bill (HR 2808) that would allow Congress to take 60 days to review the plans to close VA hospitals. She said the VA proposal is "appalling ... at a time when veterans need these medical facilities." A public hearing about the planned closure is scheduled for Oct. 1 in Palo Alto (Contra Costa 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.