From Tiberi's House News email:
Dear friend (it appears that I am no longer a capital "F" friend -- Jim),
I believe we as a nation have an obligation to care for our veterans after they return home from serving our country. I am pleased to say today, in an effort to meet that obligation; we have dramatically expanded the services available to all our veterans in Central Ohio.
During my first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Department of Veterans Affairs conducted a study of veterans’ health care needs in Central Ohio. The VA’s original plan called for a minor expansion to the existing outpatient clinic on Taylor Avenue. In my experience, past expansions of veterans services in Columbus amounted to too little too late. Furthermore, the clinics were insufficient from the day they opened. I did not believe the VA’s original plan would meet the needs of our local veterans. Working with my colleagues in the House and Senate I pressed the VA for a larger expansion of the Columbus clinic and also for the VA to offer ambulatory surgery and inpatient hospital services in the area so our veterans would not have to wait to see a doctor, nor be forced to travel to other cities to receive the care they deserved. We were able to secure Congressional funding to construct a more aggressive expansion that would better meet the needs of our local veterans. As a result of our hard work our veterans will now receive high quality care right here in Central Ohio. Whether the need is outpatient services, mental health care, specialty care, ambulatory surgery, or full inpatient hospitalization, our veterans will be able to receive that care right here on a timely basis.
Earlier this month, I was pleased to host a visit by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dr. James Peake. Dr. Peake came to see the results of many years of hard work expanding veterans’ health care in Central Ohio. First, we toured the new VA Clinic on James Road at the Defense Supply Center, Columbus. This new facility, scheduled to open in November, is absolutely amazing. It is three times bigger than the existing clinic with more operating rooms, clinical space and dental chairs. The new clinic provides state of the art medical facilities such as new imaging equipment, an expanded co-located mental health clinic, a new comprehensive women’s health center, and a host of new specialty and ambulatory services never before offered to veterans in Central Ohio. There is also office space for veterans’ service organizations and the Veterans Benefits Administration to help veterans better apply for and receive benefits. Veterans will be able to have all their needs met in one location, right here, near their homes.
After touring the new clinic at DSCC, the Secretary and I headed to an area hospital to meet with veterans who are currently receiving inpatient hospital care through a new contract that allows them to be treated at a local hospital in Columbus instead of being forced to travel to VA Medical Centers in Dayton, Cleveland or Cincinnati for routine hospitalization. The veterans I met with were very happy to receive services near their homes, where their families could visit them each day without traveling long distances. This service has never been provided in Central Ohio before, and I am proud to have helped make it possible.
The Secretary and I finished then hosted a round-table discussion with veterans representing many of the various service groups in Central Ohio. These veterans had the opportunity to share with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and me the issues that confront their members, and to talk about ways the VA can improve its care for our veterans after they return home.
Since my days as a veterans issues staffer for my predecessor in Congress, I have been a strong supporter of veterans’ issues. As a member of Congress I was proud to write and pass legislation that expanded veterans hiring preferences. Funding for the VA has nearly doubled since I took office and I have been proud to vote for legislation that increased that funding. But, I am most proud of my work to increase the availability, quality, and convenience of veterans’ health care. We have created a new clinic in Newark that allows Licking County veterans to get treatment close to home. In fact, the Newark clinic is also scheduled to be expanded soon to meet increased demand. A number of the new specialty services are already offered at the old Columbus clinic in anticipation of the new clinic’s opening, the inpatient contract is working right now to offer hospitalization to those veterans who need it, and in about 80 days the new clinic will be open for business. These concrete achievements are paying dividends to Central Ohio veterans, today. I’m eagerly anticipating the grand opening of the new clinic and ambulatory surgery center, and I hope you will have a chance to tour the new facilities in the near future.
Thank you for your interest in veterans issues.