WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.) today urged Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough to explain and reconsider the VA’s decision to close the VA hospital in Alexandria. The VA failed to consult with Kennedy or Letlow before announcing its plan to make changes to VA medical facilities in Louisiana.
“Your report for restructuring includes an estimated $2 trillion infrastructure overhaul and recommends closing 17 medical centers in 12 states without clear guidelines on direct replacements,” said Kennedy and Letlow.
“Most alarmingly, your recommendations include closing the VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Alexandria, Louisiana, and a complete rebuild of the Shreveport VAMC. According to your report, the justification for the closure of the Alexandria VAMC is based on calculations that the enrolled veteran population across Central Louisiana (CenLa) will decrease from 39,600 to 39,312 in 2029, a difference of only 288 enrollees over 10 years,” the lawmakers explained.
“As this report is considered by Congress and others, we urge you to reconsider the closure of the Alexandria VAMC. This facility is critical for veterans across Louisiana and the detrimental effects of its closure would be immeasurable,” Kennedy and Letlow wrote.
Kennedy and Letlow asked McDonough to provide information including the VA’s assessment criteria for closing and rebuilding the facilities in Louisiana.
They also requested a comprehensive explanation of how the VA will maintain care for veterans who depend on the Alexandria VAMC after the medical center’s closure.
“Louisiana veterans deserve clear-cut answers explaining how any changes will affect their access to life saving care,” they concluded.
The letter is available here.