“Today is a great day for the veterans of North Central Washington,” Senator Murray said. “These brave men and women have waited far too long for access to the care they were promised by our grateful nation. I am pleased that after too many years of waiting North Central Washington veterans will have a clinic by the beginning of the new year.”
Murray, a key member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, inserted language into the Veterans’ Health Care, Capital Asset, and Business Improvement Act of 2003 mandating the VA to “develop a plan for meeting the future hospital needs of veterans who reside in North Central Washington.” When the VA failed to meet the deadline for creating a plan, Murray threatened to hold up the confirmation of the President’s nominee to be the VA’s Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs until it was complete.
Currently, veterans in the area are limited to a one day per month mobile clinic visit from the Spokane VA Medical Center’s motor coach. Local veterans with more serious problems or those who can’t wait for mobile clinic visits are forced to drive to either Seattle or Spokane for care.
“Our veterans served and sacrificed for our freedom. Now, instead of driving hours just to see a doctor, they will be able to more easily access the care they both need and deserve,” Murray said.
The new North Central Washington CBOC:
- Will serve veterans in a 6-county area and will be operated by the Spokane VA Medical Center
- Is planned as a VA-staffed clinic in leased space
- Is projected to have over 10,000 patient visits in first full year of operation
- Is expected to be operational by the end of 2006 or early 2007