Today, the Senate and House Veterans Affairs (VA) Committee Chairmen, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Jeff Miller, announced a breakthrough on comprehensive VA reform legislation. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (OK-1), and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) praised the inclusion of a provision that will allow the Tulsa Community Based Outpatient (CBOC) to pursue a new facility to better serve local veterans' growing health care needs.
Should the legislation pass Congress, the provision would allow the Tulsa CBOC to lease a new cost-efficient facility up to 140,000 gross square feet, for up to a 30-year lifecycle, and with an annual cost per square foot to reflect the market rate in Tulsa for equivalent medical facilities. The provision would also require the VA Secretary to submit a detailed cost benefit analysis to Congress within 90 days should it be determined that a new construction or purchase is the more cost effective option.
"I appreciate Congressman Jeff Miller and Senator Bernie Sands for including the Tulsa VA clinic in the new VA reform legislation," said Sen. Inhofe. "The provision is a significant victory for Oklahoma's veterans who would otherwise be without a Tulsa facility by 2020. With this provision the Tulsa VA clinic will have the needed resources to pursue a new facility that can meet the growing health care needs of Oklahoma's veterans. I will continue to work with the delegation and my Senate colleagues to ensure veterans across the state have access to the quality health care they have earned and deserve."
Rep. Bridenstine said, "The Tulsa CBOC will triple the medical space, consolidate and expand services, and increase parking. I know that this facility will improve the quality of care for veterans in the First District."
Rep. Mullin said, "Many veterans in Oklahoma's 2nd District travel to Tulsa for care. Improving access to care for local veterans has been an issue my team and I have been working on extensively. Without question, veterans care remains a top priority of mine, and I will continue be a voice for Oklahoma veterans as this legislation moves forward."
"We are pleased that funding for the Tulsa clinic has been included in the latest VA reform bill," said James Floyd, medical center director of the Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic and the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center. "Should the legislation pass, the provision will give us the ability to consolidate into one location and expand the care the clinic provides to veterans."
The current Tulsa CBOC exists in two different locations with a lease set to expire in 2020 that cannot be renewed due to the locations not meeting current regulations for medical facilities. The new facility will consolidate care to one location, increase parking, and expand services and quality of care for Tulsa's growing veteran population.