Warner pushes for expedited construction of veterans clinic in Hampton Roads
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) urged the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to expedite the building of a critical outpatient clinic for veterans in Hampton Roads, one of the fastest-growing veteran populations in the country.
In his letter to the GSA, Sen. Warner requested updates on the procurement and construction of the building and expressed disappointment with the project’s significant delays.
The 155,000 square foot outpatient facility – which is meant to alleviate demand in the region – is the result of a successful bipartisan effort spearheaded by Sen. Warner to approve 28 overdue Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facility leases, including two outpatient clinics in Virginia.
“In our most recent meeting, you stated that the GSA was still identifying potential properties and sites to ensure sufficient competition. And that following this, a number of steps would still need to be undertaken, including another Congressional authorization, before the lease could be awarded and design and construction could occur,” wrote Sen. Warner. “I cannot stress enough how important it is to me, and the veterans I represent in the Hampton Roads area, that every effort be made to expedite the procurement and building process for this facility.”
This facility is much needed in the Hampton Roads area; over the next 20 years, enrollees are expected to increase by 44 percent and outpatient workload to increase by more than 70 percent. While the veteran population in Virginia is predicted to grow more than two percent over the next eight years, enrollees at the Hampton VA are expected to rise approximately 16 percent within the same timeframe.
Sen. Warner continued, “I am concerned that VA facilities in the area are already stretched thin, and additional years without the relief of this outpatient clinic puts strains on these veterans and their families, who rely on the services provided for them at these facilities. To think that this building will be built approximately ten years after the need was identified is a disservice to our veterans and reflects poorly on the U.S. government. We must do better.”
The GSA’s latest timeline states that its completion may take until 2023, with facilities not operating until late 2023 or early 2024, more than six years after the lease was approved.
In his letter, Sen. Warner also asked the GSA to identify specific phases of the timeline where the process can be accelerated and reiterated his commitment to move this project forward in any way possible.