The North Texas VA has officially acquired the vacant hospital that was Baylor Scott & White Garland, which will officially become the Garland VA Medical Center. Initially, the hospital will be a 100-bed facility to treat COVID-19 patients.
Dallas congressman Colin Allred has been pushing for this deal for months, and it wasn’t always straightforward. “There were times when this deal was not going to happen. We had to work very hard to bring the various players to the same table just to clear up some of the lines of communication,” he says. But the need for additional beds to treat coronavirus helped push it across the finish line. “We must marshal all the resources we have to beat this virus, and in the near-term, this will help our community as we fight the spread of COVID-19 and provide care for those who need it,” Allred said via release.
The VA is already set up to cover non-veterans in the case of a health crisis or health emergency, and Allred said the new facility is prepared to expand and treat non-veterans for COVID-19 if necessary.
“The initial use is going to be COVID-19 veterans, but I’m sure they’ll transition to the allocation plan that they had previously made if they need to,” Allred says. “But we will see what our what our surge is going to look like and how much capacity is needed.”
Though the hospital will be ready for civilian COVID-19 cases, Allred says he doesn’t think it will need to be used that way. “I had a call with Parkland earlier today and they’re confident that based on their projections at the moment, they will have enough capacity when our peak comes, and that peak is likely late April or early May,” Allred says.
The new project will create around 5,000 of jobs and serve an additional 184,000 veterans. A new hospital would cost between $800 million and $1 billion, and the donated facility will also help the VA capture patients that are currently being pushed onto community providers because there isn’t room to treat them at the existing VA. There are still some tenants in the old BSW Garland building who have been there since BSW closed the hospital in 2018, but they will all be gone prior to the VA opening up.
“This as a win for everyone; a win for the taxpayers, a win for veterans, and for Baylor Scott and White as well,” Allred says.