Proposal to close Alexandria VA is ‘infuriating’
The US Department of Veterans Affairs announced a proposal to close its medical center in Pineville, which US Senator Bill Cassidy called “maddening”.
The proposal to close the Alexandria VA Medical Center was included in a report issued by the Assets and Infrastructure Review Commission.
The report says the Alexandria facility, built in 1950, does not meet current design standards and that “facility condition assessment deficiencies” amount to approximately $156.9 million. Annual operating and maintenance costs are estimated at $9.8 million.
He recommends moving inpatient medicine, mental health and outpatient surgery services from the VA to local providers.
Cassidy, a physician, released an emailed statement about the proposal on Tuesday.
“This abrupt proposal is infuriating to many. I have spoken with a VA official, and they have assured me that there will always be a VA presence in Alexandria,” it read. “If the administration’s proposal goes into effect, the provisions I have worked to include in the VA Mission Act will allow veterans to access quality care at nearby non-VA health care facilities.”
The report calls for the maintenance of community living center services at VA facilities in Alexandria. The medical center ranks 139th out of 154 VA training sites, based on the number of trainees, it reads.
And it says the site performs “limited or no research.
“None of the VAMCs on the market have an emergency designation.”
But even with the call to close the VA Medical Center, the report says the number of enrolled veterans and demand for services is expected to increase in its southern market which covers central and southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi and the Alabama and West Florida Panhandle.
It had 207,701 registrants in fiscal year 2019, and it says that is expected to increase by 6.3% by fiscal year 2029.
“Market demand for inpatient medical and surgical services is expected to decrease by 17.9% and demand for inpatient mental health services is expected to increase by 17.6%” during the same period, the report states. .
The demand for long-term care is expected to increase by 52%. Demand for all outpatient services – primary care, mental health, specialist care, dental care and rehabilitation therapies – is also expected to increase.
Despite this, the report says leaving the Alexandria site open is “unsustainable due to declining VAMC demand, registrant population, and aging infrastructure.”
There has been a decrease in the number of people seeking inpatient mental health services and outpatient surgery cases. He asks that demand decrease further as the New Orleans Medical Center becomes fully functional.