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VA report says Dublin's veterans hospital should close

The report says the VA should build a new veterans hospital in Macon to replace the Carl Vinson Medical Center, which is old and outdated.

DUBLIN, Ga. — A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs report says Dublin's Carl Vinson VA hospital is old, outdated, and needs to be replaced. The report also says Georgia's veterans would be better served by a new VA hospital near Macon.

It's part of a national report released Monday that recommended closing dozens of facilities nationwide and opening hundreds of new ones.

Over the past four years, a VA commission looked at hospitals and clinics across the country. Part of their report looks at Dublin's Carl Vinson Veterans Administration, which was built in 1944.

They say the buildings lack modern plumbing, electricity, and ventilation. The campus lacks parking, the report says, and many areas are not wheelchair-accessible.

It would cost more than $225 million to modernize and upgrade the Dublin hospital, the report says.

The VA also says a Macon-area hospital would be more convenient for more veterans. About 38,000 veteran enrollees live within an hour of Macon, nearly twice as many as live near Dublin, the VA says.

The report says the VA should build a new medical center in the Macon area, move the various services now offered in Dublin to other nearby facilities, and close the Dublin campus.

It also recommends:

  • Creating a new outpatient clinic in Dublin to serve area Dublin's veterans.
  • Moving the Perry outpatient clinic to a new site. Work on a new Perry clinic is now underway.
  • Moving all services at Macon's current outpatient clinic to the new hospital in town.

The report's recommendations are not final. They'll go to a VA panel that will make final decisions next year.

But the congressman who represents Dublin says the VA should improve the Carl Vinson Medical Center, not close it.

Rick Allen, an Augusta congressman, sent 13WMAZ this statement: 

“I was proud to support the Mission Act’s passage to ensure veterans have access to services from the best health care providers, whether that’s through the VA or private sector. Part of the legislation requires the VA to undertake the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) process —an initiative to study the current and future health care needs of Veterans across America, and to evaluate VHA’s health care infrastructure. 

“These recommendations are just a first step in a long process that ultimately must be approved by Congress, and I have serious concerns about the proposal to move the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center from Dublin to Macon. Many veterans already have to travel far distances to get the care they’ve earned, and we should be looking at ways to strengthen the Dublin VA.”

13WMAZ also reached out to leadership of the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center Tuesday; they have not responded.

RELATED: City of Perry to house $14M Veteran Affairs facility

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