Joint Hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the U.S. Senate and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives at 1:00 p.m. CDT.
Opening Statement of Hon. Michael H. Michaud, Chairman, a Representative in Congress from the State of Maine
I would like to thank the members of the Subcommittee, our witnesses and all those in the audience for being here today.
The purpose of this hearing is to learn more about the construction process within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
In 2004, VA completed the Capitol Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) process. CARES was supposed to be a map for future VA facilities development.
It is unclear to me how closely VA is following this map, and it is also unclear how well CARES will address the medical and demographic needs of current and future veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq.
This subcommittee is committed to providing the highest quality health care to our nation’s veterans – and we understand that a key part of this care is the facilities in which it is provided.
We are here today to get a better understanding of the entire construction process, from conception to the opening of a facility.
Understanding this process is particularly important right now. Many of the VA hospitals and medical facilities are aging and are in need of major renovation or replacement. Many VA facilities need to be upgraded in order to meet standards for earthquakes, fires and patient privacy.
Population shifts require new facilities in new locations. VA is in the process of planning several new hospitals in cities such as Las Vegas, Denver and New Orleans.
This process can be long and drawn out. It can take much longer than similar projects built in the private sector.
We look forward to working with the VA to ensure that our veterans receive the best possible care in medical facilities that are modern and safe – while being built efficiently and cost-effectively.
I look forward to hearing about the current construction process, VA’s plans and needs for future construction, and how this committee can support this effort – with the end goal always being to provide the best possible healthcare to our veterans.
I now recognize Mr. Miller for any opening statement that he may have.