The former Baylor, Scott and White hospital in Garland may provide another healthcare option for veterans if a bipartisan group of North Texas Congress members gets their way. A letter from Congressman Colin Allred (TX-32) and Congressman Ron Wright (TX-06) made the argument to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie last week.
Baylor closed the 470,000 facility in 2018 after years of “significant financial losses,” and is willing to donate it to the VA, according to McClatchy DC. The letter describes how the $400 million donation would be a wise choice for the VA, allowing them to serve 184,000 additional veterans without having to build a new facility for $800 million to $1 billion. The letter highlights North Texas’ population growth rate and describes a VA health system that leaves 40-80 veterans in temporary care every day while they wait to access a VA facility.
Hospital officials have had “preliminary conversations with the VA in North Texas; however, no decisions have been made,” said Julie Smith, a spokesperson for Baylor, Scott and White Health, in a statement to McClatchy.
Jessica Jacobsen, a VA spokesperson, responded in a statement to McClatchy that the department “appreciates the lawmakers’ concerns and will respond to them directly” when asked about the clinic.
“Ensuring our veterans have access to the quality care they need is my top priority as a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs,” Allred said via release. “This project is critical for veterans throughout North Texas and would be a win for the city of Garland. I am proud of the broad bipartisan cooperation on this letter and I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to move forward on this project.”
“North Texas is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country for veterans. I was happy to sign onto the letter to Secretary Wilkie urging him to acquire a recently closed hospital in Garland that would be able to service 184,000 vets,” said Wright via release. “We need facilities like this one in order to be able to provide the veterans of North Texas with the quality service they deserve.”
Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Kay Granger (TX-12), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Van Taylor (TX-03) and Michael C. Burgess M.D. (TX-26) also signed the letter.
Read the full letter here.