Marshall: About $10 million likely for Dublin VA hospital

The Carl Vinson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dublin likely will receive a little less than $10 million dollars to build a nursing home community living center, U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall said.

Marshall, D-Ga., announced Tuesday that the hospital will receive $9.9 million in federal funds to build a new home for some of the veterans who stay there. About 9,000 square feet of property will be renovated and 25,000 square feet of new space will be built, Marshall said. All the construction will occur on the hospital’s property at 1826 Veterans Blvd. in Dublin.

In July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution in a 415-3 vote authorizing the money for the project. The bill likely will be voted on by the U.S. Senate in September, said Doug Moore, a spokesman for Marshall’s office. Moore said the measure isn’t controversial and is likely to be approved.

The hospital already has moved to improve some of its nursing home care, said Janine Cameron, spokeswoman for the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center.

“We’re transforming 56 beds, increasing privacy, improving quality and safety,” Cameron said. “The money is to relocate two existing community living centers.”

After the improvements are made, which Cameron said likely would be completed in 2011, more residents will have private rooms, although no new beds will be created. Currently, some residents have to share rooms with three other people, she said.

The final product is still years away.

“We don’t have the design yet,” she said.

Marshall visited the VA hospital in Dublin on Tuesday afternoon to make the announcement.

“This hospital has come a long way,” Marshall said after the event.

Marshall said when he ran for office and in his first few years in Congress, he heard a “steady stream of complaints” about the quality of care for veterans.

“The last two, three years I haven’t heard a peep of complaints,” he said.

With the current health-care debate raging, “you see an awful lot of discontent, this is just an island of satisfaction,” Marshall said about the government-run VA hospital.