VA Realignment Moves Forward

Article excerpt

An independent commission monitoring Va's proposed realignment issued its recommendations in February.

Known as the CARES (VA's Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services) Commission, the 16-member panel conducted 38 public hearings and 10 public meetings, heard from 770 witnesses (including 135 members of Congress and seven governors) and received written comments from 212,000 people since last August.

VA released its Draft National Cares Plan (DNCP) last August and proposed closing seven of its facilities in Livermore, Calif.; Waco, Texas; Gulfport, Miss.; Lexington, Ky., Brecksville, Ohio; Pittsburgh; and Canandaigua, N.Y. The commission recommended only six be closed, sparing the Lexington facility.

"There were cases where the commission came to a different conclusion than the DNCP," the commission report stated. "However, the driving force for VAs networks and the commission was enhancing medical services to veterans."

In most cases, VA and the commission focused on eliminating inpatient care in favor of outpatient services at many of VA's 1,300 facilities. At press time, VA's Principi was expected to issue his final decision around March 15. The commission's full report can be accessed online at www.carescommission.va.gov.

The following list notes proposed changes at facilities in various states.

Alabama

Study feasibility of converting Montgomery VA facility to outpatient-only and contracting inpatient care.

Arizona

Retain inpatient services at Prescott and increase workload.

California

Close Livermore facility, but retain the nursing-home. Move sub-acute beds to Palo Alto and outpatient care to the community.

Colorado

Study feasibility of building a new joint VA/DoD medical center in Denver.

Florida

* Build a new hospital in Orlando.

* Build a new inpatient bed tower in Tampa.

Georgia

Retain inpatient services at Dublin facility, but shift inpatient surgery to outpatient and evaluate the intensive care unit.

Indiana

Discontinue inpatient services at Fort Wayne, but retain outpatient care.

Iowa

Discontinue inpatient services at Knoxville, but retain outpatient care.

Kansas

Consolidate services between Topeka and Leavenworth facilities.

Kentucky

Study feasibility of a new or fully renovated facility in Louisville, with the possibility of sharing the structure with a medical school.

Maryland

Redesign campus at Perry Point.

Massachusetts

Study the feasibility of building a single facility for acute inpatient services in Boston to replace those in Bedford and Jamaica Plain. …