VA is growing! The much-anticipated Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) report details plans for a great deal of growth and expansion as we look to modernize care for Veterans throughout the country.
Work on the report began in January with a nationwide review of facilities to determine how to better invest our resources for our Veterans. The goal was to determine which facilities are underused and outdated, as well as examine the demand of services and the needs of Veterans in each region.
In with the new
While the AIR report advised some closures around the country, these recommendations were supplemented by plans for completely new VA medical centers, as well as more than 100 multi-specialty, community-based outpatient clinics. These facilities will replace locations that have outlived their usefulness, some of which date back to the end of World War I.
“As someone who has been in many VA facilities across the country, I am not surprised to learn that some are beyond renovation and demand a fresh start,” said Darren Sherrard, associate director of recruitment marketing and workforce solutions at VA. “As the Veteran population migrates around the U.S., patient volume changes as well. By looking at the past military transitions and future needs, this quantified data assures Veterans that our services will be near and convenient to you.”
For example, since the Veteran population is projected to grow in northeast Florida, we know we need to anticipate that growth and the needs of those Veterans. One recommendation is to develop a new VA medical center in Jacksonville and a new outpatient clinic at the Lake City VA campus, as well as six outpatient clinics across the region.
Similarly, the plan to modernize health care facilities in Oregon and southwest Washington state would add services at some existing locations and create two new clinics. This investment was designed with Veterans in mind, shortening the time Veterans in rural areas spend commuting for services.
A focus on Veterans and employees
Though the recommendations will remain under review until next February, these proposals create an exciting time for VA employees.
As the country’s largest health care provider, we will continue to be one of America’s Best Large Employers. Meanwhile, opening new facilities means greater opportunities for VA employees nationwide. Communities with a growing Veteran population will have more available positions, which means more opportunities at locations close to home for many applicants.
“All across the board with these recommendations, we’re embracing the idea that health care has evolved, so VA evolves with it, and in fact leads the evolution,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said. “That means building facilities designed with Veterans and VA employees in mind, because VA employees will always be our number one asset, and they should have the modern tools they need to provide the best care possible for Vets.”
VA has already embraced a changing workforce. As a leader in developing work-from-home positions and providing flexible scheduling, we understand the needs of our employees in a transforming market.
So, as these recommendations come to life, some of our staff will notice little change. But for those whose duties demand a physical presence to serve Veterans, you can count on the security of an employer that will continue to grow for years to come.
Work at VA
“I encourage everyone to share the good news that VA is growing,” said Sherrard. “If you are in a community projecting growth or one that will be adapting to the changing needs of our Veterans, there is an opportunity for you to find a new home, as well.”