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March 18, 2022

VA Releases new Infrastructure Plan to Rebuild VA Health Care

Earlier this week, the VA revealed a plan to transform and restructure its facilities. Under this plan, 35 VA Medical Centers would be reconstructed or closed. The plan also calls for building 14 new VA hospitals and 140 community-based multi-specialty outpatient clinics. The plan aims to deliver health care over the next 25 to 50 years to over 12 million veterans. It will first need approval from Congress and an independent commission of veterans advocates. VA Secretary Denis McDonough stressed that these changes would account for how healthcare has changed; this plan aims to match the needs of the market and to enable veterans everywhere to access the care they need when needed. This plan already faces opposition, however, mainly stemming from places where facilities would be closed. Senator Jon Tester from Montana, where a nursing home and two clinics would be closed, promised to fight any proposals to reduce veterans’ access to health care. On the flip side, Representative Mike Bost (R-IL-12) recognized that the VA’s infrastructure was in need of improvement. In the short-term, the plan will not displace VA patients or workers, and aims to strengthen care by improving VA staff pay and benefits in an effort to strengthen retention. Over the next 30 years, it is estimated that implementing the full recommendations would cost $98 billion more than maintaining the current infrastructure.