Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs selected a contractor to build a new $2.6 million community-based outpatient clinic in Burlington, Vt. “As a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I am proud to announce that we’re making real progress in improving health care for veterans throughout Vermont,” Sanders said. “The new VA facility in Burlington will replace a clinic in Colchester where the need for health care services has outgrown the clinic’s capacity. The new Burlington clinic will be in addition to new facilities that opened earlier this year in Rutland and Newport.” Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said the Burlington facility “will ensure that Vermont’s Veterans continue to have the world-class medical care that they’ve earned through their service to our nation.”
Throughout Vermont, the VA now serves some 8,600 veterans at clinics in Colchester, Brattleboro, Rutland, Bennington and Newport. The clinics provide primary care, specialty treatment and mental health services. They operate as satellites of the VA medical center in White River Junction, Vt.
The Colchester clinic, the busiest in the state, will be replaced by a new facility almost twice as large. The new clinic will be housed in an old cotton mill located at 128 Lakeside Ave. in Burlington. The construction contract with Fortieth Burlington LLC calls for facility that will occupy more than 16,000 square feet in the refurbished building. The construction project will create an estimated 75 jobs. Once the facility is completed in early 2013, the VA will pay an annual rent of approximately $350,000.
The VA last year spent $329 million providing health care, benefits and services to Vermont’s 52,000 Veterans.
The VA operates one of the nation’s largest integrated health care systems. With a health care budget of about $50 billion, VA expects to provide care to 6.1 million patients supporting 920,000 hospitalizations and nearly 80 million outpatient visits this year. VA’s health care network includes 152 major medical centers and more than 800 community-based outpatient clinics.