02.02.17

Kilmer Calls on House Veterans Committee to Investigate Failure of Bremerton VA Outpatient Clinic to Open on Time

Washington D.C. – U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) called for the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to investigate the failure of Bremerton’s VA outpatient clinic to open in a timely manner. In a letter to Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) and Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN), Kilmer urged the committee to look at the VA’s ability to construct Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) and whether other sites like Bremerton have experienced problems.

Kilmer pointed out in his letter that the VA continued to announce delays for the date the Bremerton project would be completed before ultimately terminating its contract. The VA’s actions will further delay the opening of any CBOC in the Bremerton area for another 18 months. Kilmer believes that attention from the committee might expedite the project.

“We need to get this moving. Veterans need the care they’ve earned,” said Kilmer.

Kilmer wrote in the letter: “I am greatly disappointed in the VA’s leadership and their inability to complete this project despite my continued engagement. This is especially concerning given the Committee’s actions throughout the 114th Congress, addressing the VA’s capacity and capability to address construction requirements at the VA Medical Facility in Colorado in particular. Because of the problems faced with the CBOC Bremerton and others across the nation I believe further investigation is needed. I’m encouraging you to look into the VA’s ability to follow through with outfitting and constructing CBOCs, and the Bremerton CBOC in particular.”

The full text of the letter reads as follows.

The Honorable Phil Roe

Chairman

House Committee on Veterans Affairs

335 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Tim Walz

Ranking Member

House Committee on Veterans Affairs

333 Cannon House Office Buidling

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman Roe and Ranking Member Walz,

Congratulations on your recent appointments to serve as the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. Your unwavering support for veterans and their families has improved the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ability to honor our commitment to those who serve.  It is in that spirit that I write to you asking for your assistance to ensure the long overdue opening of a new Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) facility in Bremerton, WA.

In 2014, the Bremerton CBOC was outdated, overcapacity, and suffered from potential public health concerns. That’s why our community was excited to hear that a new lease for a brand new facility would soon be approved. It was particularly important to the 82,000 veterans I represent, the fifth largest concentration of any House member. Unfortunately, the story does not end there.

For the past two years, the VA has failed to open a new facility to patients. To get to the bottom of this I have discussed the failure with former Secretary of Veterans Affairs MacDonald and the leadership of the Government Services Administration. Furthermore, I pushed the leadership of VA Puget Sound to give my office regular updates regarding the project. Despite several promises of advancement and personally offering to help in any way that I can, I was left disappointed time and again. Following months of false starts the VA recently terminated its contract. Now they have to solicit a requirement for a design and build proposal for a new facility. This will further delay the services my constituents require for another 18 months or more.

I am greatly disappointed in the VA’s leadership and their inability to complete this project despite my continued engagement. This is especially concerning given the Committee’s actions throughout the 114th Congress, addressing the VA’s capacity and capability to address construction requirements at the VA Medical Facility in Colorado in particular. Because of the problems faced with the CBOC Bremerton and others across the nation I believe further investigation is needed. I’m encouraging you to look into the VA’s ability to follow through with outfitting and constructing CBOCs, and the Bremerton CBOC in particular. I would even welcome the Committee to come to Bremerton to hold a field hearing to learn more about this specific example and related issues.

I appreciate your attention to this issue and the needs of our nation’s veterans. I look forward to working with you and your teams.

Sincerely,

Derek Kilmer

Member of Congress      

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