(WASHINGTON) - The Department of Veterans Affairs has selected a site to serve as the location of a 21st century medical center in Louisville, Ky., replacing an existing 60-year-old facility.
Click here to read the Fact Sheet from the Veterans Administration.
“This new hospital will provide state-of-the-art health care for the Veterans of Louisville and the surrounding 35-county region,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “At VA, we’re committed to upgrading our facilities, programs and technologies to ensure our patients receive the best care anywhere.”
The site for the new VA medical center is located in Jefferson County, adjacent to the Brownsboro Road and I-264 interchange. That location is close to the current Robley Rex VA Medical Center and the downtown University of Louisville Hospital.
The Midlands property is owned by Blue Equity.
“We're honored that the Midlands was chosen for the new VA Hospital .We think it’s going to be good for the veterans, good for our economy, create jobs, and it will be a state of the art facility,” said spokesperson Bob Gunnell.
Now that the site has been selected, VA will undertake master planning and design. The facility is expected to cost an estimated $883.2 million and open in 2018, but neighbors have concerns about the decision.
“Everything that has to do with the hospital: lights, sirens,” Clara Small said.
“I’ve lived here more than 25 years and we've had the privilege and the luxury of having that as open farmland,” David Chandler said.
Veterans, among others, expressed concern over the size of the 36-acre site. Wayne Pfeffer, Director of the VA Medical Center is shooting down the criticism about size.
“The estimation was 25 or more acres. New Orleans and Denver hospitals, which are being built, are in less footprint than this is. So. It should fit in very well,” Pfeffer said.
The new medical center will have clinics specializing in primary care, surgery, and mental health and 110 inpatient beds. The new facility will also have a geriatric and extended care program, a home-based primary care program, and a substance abuse residential rehabilitation treatment program.
VA operates one of the nation’s largest integrated health care systems in the country. With a health care budget of about $50 billion, VA expects to provide care to 6.3 million patients during 920,000 hospitalizations and nearly 90 million outpatient visits this year.
VA’s health care network includes 152 major medical centers and more than 800 community-based outpatient clinics.
Last year, VA spent more than $1.9 billion on behalf of Kentucky’s 331,000 Veterans. In addition to the Louisville facility, VA operates a two-campus medical center in Lexington, nearly two dozen community-based outpatient clinics across the state, Vet Centers in Louisville and Lexington, and seven national cemeteries.
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Thursday regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs’ announcement on the location of the new Robley Rex VA Medical Center:
“Now that the Department of Veterans Affairs has finally selected a location for the Robley Rex VA Medical Center, work can begin on the new state-of-art facility, which will ensure that the men and women who so bravely served our country will receive the quality health care they deserve. The construction on the new VA hospital has been a top priority of mine, and I’m pleased the VA Secretary made the decision. Our veterans have waited long enough; it’s time to get construction underway.”