VA Clinics

Senator Murray knows how difficult it can be for veterans to travel long distances to receive medical care from the VA.  Because of this, she has worked tirelessly to open new VA medical facilities in Washington state and to prevent existing facilities from closing. 

  • American Lake and Vancouver – In July 2003, the VA tried to close health care facilities in Tacoma, Vancouver and Walla Walla.  In the months that followed, Senator Murray worked closely with local veterans, visited the facilities, and submitted testimony to the VA Commission that was tasked with investigating potential locations slated for closure (the VA CARES Commission).  After months of fighting the VA, she was given the personal word of VA Secretary Tony Principi that the American Lake facility in Tacoma would not be closed.  In February 2004, the VA CARES Commission recommended keeping the Vancouver hospital open.  

  • Walla Walla – When the CARES Commission recommended closing the Walla Walla VA facility in February 2004, Senator Murray took action.  She spent nearly ten months writing letters and holding private meetings with VA officials. She even used her position on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to hold hearings on the potential closure.  In May 2004, she secured a commitment from Secretary Principi that the Walla Walla facility would not be closed.

  • Wenatchee CBOC – In February 2006, the VA approved the establishment of a Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in North Central Washington to serve veterans in Chelan, Douglass, Ferry, Grant, Kittitas, and Okanogan County.  Senator Murray put language in several bills directing the VA to develop a plan to meet the needs of veterans in north central Washington.  When the VA missed their deadline, Senator Murray threatened to hold up the nomination of a VA official.  The VA CBOC opened in August 2007.

  • Seattle – In December 2006, the Fisher House Foundation, a private foundation, chose Seattle as the location of a new Fisher House, a facility that houses VA patients’ families for free.  The Fisher House is scheduled to open in the fall of 2008.

  • NW Washington CBOC – For years, Senator Murray pressed the VA to open a permanent CBOC in Northwest Washington, and in February 2007, the VA announced plans to open a CBOC in the Mount Vernon area.  In May 2008, the VA announced the opening of an interim clinic in Sedro-Woolley.  Senator Murray was pleased to be present at the opening of the Mt. Vernon Clinic in July 2009.

  • Everett – In February 2007, the VA announced that Everett had been selected for a new Vet Center to provide counseling and outreach services to veterans in the area and their families.  Senator Murray worked for years to get a new Vet Center in Everett with Representative Rick Larsen. 

  • South Puget Sound CBOC – In March 2008, the VA decided to locate a CBOC in the South Puget Sound region to provide primary and mental health care for veterans in Lewis, Thurston, and other counties in the region.  Senator Murray worked for a CBOC to be opened as soon as possible.  A CBOC serving the South Sound opened in Chehalis in 2010.