VA Hospital – Issues
Why the New Hospital Location is Bad for Veterans and the Community
1. Quality of Care Will Suffer
The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs stated mission is to serve and honor the men and women who are America’s veterans; and to provide world-class health care to eligible veterans.
The selected new site for a VA hospital will actually be a detriment to veterans’ health care:
- The increased distance from Louisville’s downtown medical campus puts Veterans’ lives at risk in emergency situations where specialty care is needed. This is why the Kentucky Medical Association opposes the Brownsboro Road location.
- With the building of a new hospital, the VA plans to close all of its local community based outpatient clinics (CBOCs), increasing travel and wait times for Veterans forced to utilize the hospital for primary care.
- The selected site is 14 acres smaller than the current site with no room to expand. Given the yet unknown impact on long-term health for Veterans who have served in the Middle East over the past decade, the planned space will be inadequate to care for the future complexity, and number, of patient maladies.
- The selected site is located in a heavily congested area where the roads, as graded by the Kentucky Department of Transportation, currently score D’s and F’s. Veterans should expect extended wait times to access the hospital due to traffic issues.
- The proposed hospital will be nearly 10 miles away from University of Louisville Hospital, the VA’s affiliated health care provider, impacting access to physicians who have traditionally volunteered their service.
2. Diminished Economic Impact
If a VA hospital is built on the selected site, Louisville will be unable to collect research funds and tax revenue that cannot be earned at this location. Additionally, the city will miss out on opportunities to strengthen it’s health care industry through talent recruitment and innovation.
Capacity ALREADY EXISTS in the downtown hospitals to care for veterans. Building a new facility is a waste of taxpayer dollars and community resources.
By not being connected to the University of Louisville Hospital, the VA is passing on millions of dollars in federal medical research grants that would provide even better care to local veterans, stimulate the local health care economy and attract top talent.
The proposed medical center site and its surroundings have no room for future commercial growth. This means businesses that could provide services for veterans and their families (hotels, restaurants, convenience stores, etc.) have no place to go; depriving the community and organizations that provide services (firefighters, road and landscaping crews, etc.) from collecting any tax dollars while increasing their workload.
3. Contributing to Urban Sprawl
A hospital built in the middle of a suburban neighborhood is sprawl; adding 5,000-6,000 round trips daily into the site, increasing air pollution and noise, and spoiling the community aesthetic. The strain on resources such as fire and police protection will negatively impact the ability to protect neighborhood homes and businesses during times of crisis.
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