VA panel meets Friday

The federally appointed group will discuss options for the local VA during a meeting at Wildhorse.


The seven possible options proposed for Walla Walla's veterans hospital will be reviewed Friday, and the public will have a chance to share thoughts.

The Local Advisory Panel consulting on the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial Veterans Affairs Medical Center will conduct its second public meeting on local VA health care and facilities.

The second of four meetings will be conducted in Oregon at the Wildhorse Resort & Casino. The first meeting was in May.

As with the first meeting, Friday's will be an eight-hour event, running 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with presentations from consulting firm Pricewaterhouse-Coopers through the morning.

Public testimony likely will not begin until after lunch. At 4 p.m., the 11 members of the federally appointed panel will take part in their own public discussion of the options.

Information gathered at the meetings will be used to advise the secretary of Veterans Affairs on a plan for the site and services.

The Wainwright facility had been recommended for major changes last year as part of a study by the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services Commission.

Walla Walla's veterans hospital was one of 18 chosen for further study as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs realigns its facilities and health care with moving populations of veterans.

PricewaterhouseCoopers is consulting on all of the studies. Earlier this month, it released seven possible options for the medical center, ranging from no change to closure. Other choices include expanding services, moving the facility to the Tri-Cities and contracting out certain services.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has compiled a 41-page report, which is available online and is expected to be presented Friday.

Members of a Community Task Force _ several of whom also sit on the Local Advisory Panel _ have said they have questions regarding data and the basis for some of the statements in the report.

The Community Task Force intends to push for three of the seven options to move forward for recommendation Friday. Those options include:4No change.

4Contract for inpatient medicine, surgery and nursing home care with local/regional providers and expand ambulatory and outpatient mental health services and inpatient mental health and the Psychiatric Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program in new construction.

4Build new inpatient and outpatient facilities to replace the hospital.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment

Click here to sign in