CONGRESSMEN DONNELLY AND SOUDER MEET WITH DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS DEPUTY UNDERSECRETARY FOR HEALTH FOR OPERATIONS AND MANAGEMENT
Today, Congressmen Mark Souder and Joe Donnelly met with William Feeley, Deputy Undersecretary for Health for Operations and Management for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) of the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Feeley oversees 21 Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) and is responsible for business operations and facilities management, including Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC).
Although scheduled prior to the Memorial Day announcement of the opening of a new CBOC in Elkhart County, this meeting allowed Congressmen Donnelly and Souder to discuss the CBOC in further depth with Feeley. Feeley indicated that the VA hopes to have the clinic open by mid-February, 2008 although the exact location for the clinic is still uncertain.
"Providing quality healthcare for our Hoosier veterans is a top concern of mine as a member of Congress," Donnelly said. "I'm grateful that Deputy Undersecretary Feeley took time to visit with me and my colleague, Congressman Souder, about the exciting announcement of a new CBOC in Elkhart County. As we move forward, I hope to keep working with the VA and Congressman Souder to see that the new clinic helps meet the needs of veterans in northern Indiana."
The CBOC will improve rural veterans' access to primary and specialty care and reduce drive time. It is anticipated that 900 existing patients and 350 new patients will be treated at the CBOC in the first year of operation.
With 153 hospitals and more than 700 community-based clinics, VA operates the largest integrated health care system in the country. VA's health care budget of more than $34 billion this year will provide health care to about 5.5 million people during nearly 800,000 hospitalizations and 60 million outpatient visits.