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Waco VA Hospital Survives

By: KWTX News
By: KWTX News

Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson will sign off Friday on a decision to retain all services at the Waco VA Hospital, ending a three-year fight to save the hospital, which was targeted for downsizing or closure by the independent Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services or CARES Commission in 2003.

“This is a great victory for veterans in Central Texas and veterans across the United States who know the Waco VA Hospital provides first class care with nationally recognized programs in mental health care and blind rehab,” said Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, who was at the forefront of the fight to save the 74-year-old facility.

Keeping the hospital open and retaining all services was the first of three options approved last fall by the Local Advisory Panel formed to make recommendations to Nicholson about the fate of the hospital.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who also played a key role in efforts not only to save the hospital, but also to expand the services it offers, said the VA will now develop plans for implementation of the Waco VA Mental Health Center of Excellence as required by the 2006 veterans spending bill signed by the president in November.

“Support for the Waco VA is important as we work to fulfill our promise to America’s veterans and ensure we have quality facilities to provide care for all who have served,” Hutchison said.

The Waco hospital was one of seven nationwide recommended for closure in 2003 after a Government Accounting Office report said veterans hospitals weren't being run efficiently.

In 2004, the CARES Commission proposed moving most of the Waco VA's major programs to Temple and Austin.

But VA officials ordered more studies of several hospitals, and consultants from Pricewaterhouse
Coopers developed 17 proposals for the Waco hospital's future.

Last year a federal panel recommended the hospital's services be expanded and rejected proposals to transfer the programs elsewhere.

Waco VA Options Approved By Local Advisory Panel In 2005

1) Current state projected out to 2013 and 2023 without any changes to facilities or programs, but accounting for projected utilization changes, and assuming materially the same quality, and necessary maintenance for a safe, secure and modern healthcare environment.

10) Inpatient and outpatient mental health services as well as nursing home, domiciliary, blind rehab and ambulatory health services to be provided at Waco. New construction for the VBA to be added at Waco.

11) Inpatient and outpatient mental services as well as nursing home, domiciliary, blind rehab and ambulatory health services to be provided at Waco. Addition of the Central Texas Stress Disorders Research and Clinical Center in new construction in Waco.

18) Creating a national center for excellence at the Waco VA for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (Proposed by the Waco VA Task Force)

Full List Of Price Waterhouse Coopers Options For Waco VA

1) Current state projected out to 2013 and 2023 without any changes to facilities or programs, but accounting for projected utilization changes, and assuming materially the same quality, and necessary maintenance for a safe, secure and modern healthcare environment.

2) Inpatient psychiatry, nursing home domiciliary, blind rehab and other mental health to be relocated to the Temple VAMC. Existing ambulatory and outpatient mental health services remain at current location of provision in Waco.

3) Inpatient psychiatry, other mental health domiciliary, blind rehab and 50% of the nursing home beds to be relocated to the Temple VAMC. Remaining nursing home beds purchased from local community. Remaining ambulatory and outpatient mental health services provided at current location or provision in Waco.

4) Outpatient mental health services and all inpatient psychiatry, nursing home, domiciliary, blind rehab and other mental health to be relocated to Temple VAMC. Existing ambulatory services remain at current location of provision in Waco.

5) Inpatient psychiatry, nursing home, blind rehab, and other mental health to be relocated to Temple VAMC. Domiciliary and existing ambulatory and outpatient mental health services remain at current location of provision in Waco.

6) Inpatient psychiatry, blind rehab and other mental health to be relocated to Temple VAMC, Domiciliary, nursing home and existing ambulatory and outpatient mental health services remain at current location of provision in Waco.

7) Outpatient mental health services and inpatient psychiatry, blind rehab and other mental health to be relocated to Temple VAMC. Domiciliary, nursing home and existing ambulatory services remain at current location of provision in Waco.

8) Inpatient psychiatry and other mental health to be relocated to Temple VAMC. All other inpatient and existing ambulatory and outpatient mental health services remain at current location of provision in Waco.

9) Inpatient and outpatient mental health including psychiatry to be relocated to Temple VAMC. Existing ambulatory services as well as domiciliary, nursing home and blind rehab remain at current location of provision in Waco.

10) Inpatient and outpatient mental health services as well as nursing home, domiciliary, blind rehab and ambulatory health services to be provided at Waco. New construction for the VBA to be added at Waco.

11) Inpatient and outpatient mental services as well as nursing home, domiciliary, blind rehab and ambulatory health services to be provided at Waco. Addition of the Central Texas Stress Disorders Research and Clinical Center in new construction in Waco.

12) Inpatient and outpatient mental health services as well as domiciliary, blind rehab and ambulatory health services to be provided at Waco. Nursing home to be purchased from local community providers.

13) Inpatient psychiatry relocated to Darnall Hospital. Nursing home and domiciliary services will be provided by local community providers. Blind rehab transferred to Temple VAMC. Existing ambulatory and outpatient mental health services to be provided through a new CBOC in Waco community.

14) Inpatient and outpatient mental health services as well as all ambulatory health services will be provided at Waco. Nursing home, domiciliary, blind rehab services will be relocated to Temple VAMC.

15) Inpatient and outpatient mental health services as well as nursing home and ambulatory health services will be provided at Waco. Domiciliary and Blind Rehab services will be located at Temple VAMC.

16) Inpatient and outpatient mental health services as well as nursing home, domiciliary and ambulatory health services will be provided at Waco. Blind Rehab services will be relocated to Temple VAMC.

17) Inpatient and outpatient mental health services as well as domiciliary, blind rehab and ambulatory health services will be provided at Waco. Nursing home services will be relocated to Temple VAMC.


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