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VA SELECTS SITE FOR NEW CALIFORNIA HOSPITAL

 VA SELECTS SITE FOR NEW CALIFORNIA HOSPITAL
 WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Department of Veterans


Affairs (VA) is announcing the selection of Travis Air Force Base near Fairfield, Calif., as the preferred location for a new 243-bed VA hospital in Northern California. The decision follows last year's closure of the VA Medical Center in Martinez, Calif., for seismic deficiencies and an intensive review of various proposals for the new facility.
 Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi said: "We carefully weighed the pros and cons of all options at four separate sites, but Travis has many advantages over the other locations. I'm pleased that we have selected a site that is best suited to meeting the needs of veterans in the area." VA's action is subject to completion of an environmental impact assessment.
 The new VA medical center at Travis Air Force Base would be connected to a large, state-of-the-art, Air Force teaching hospital. The site is located between two major population centers in Sacramento and the East Bay area and involves no land acquisition costs. Because Travis will be allocating some of its hospital beds to VA, total construction costs will be lower. The site also offers opportunities for VA-Defense Department joint ventures and sharing arrangements, as well as affiliation opportunities for clinical, training and research programs with the University of California at Davis and the Air Force.
 Selection of the Travis site also means that VA could begin treating patients prior to the completion of the new VA facility -- some five or six years away -- using existing beds at the base hospital.
 VA also will be constructing a free-standing 120-bed nursing home care unit and a new replacement outpatient clinic in Sacramento. The estimated construction cost for the medical center, clinic and nursing home is $197 million.
 Construction of the clinic and nursing home in Sacramento could be completed as early as July 1995 and the medical center at Travis as early as November 1997. Said Principi: "I'm pleased that VA has moved quickly to meet the commitment we made to meet the health care needs of Northern California veterans."
 VA announced the decision to close the Martinez VA Medical Center in August 1991 because of seismic deficiencies and to ensure the safety of patients and employees. Martinez is affected by at least three potentially active faults, and VA engineers and consultants who surveyed the facility found its major clinical care building deficient in meeting seismic and structural standards. Because of the cost of upgrading the existing hospital, VA determined the need to construct a new facility. Veterans who had been Martinez patients were transferred to other VA medical centers or outpatient clinics. A new outpatient clinic in Martinez was recently constructed and is now serving veterans.


Design for a new 120-bed nursing home in Martinez is currently underway. Construction is planned for summer 1993, with full operation expected in the fall of 1994.
 -0- 11/10/92
 /CONTACT: Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Public Affairs, 202-535-8300/ CO: Department of Veterans Affairs ST: California IN: HEA SU:


TW -- DC009 -- 9309 11/10/92 13:18 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 10, 1992
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