7 things New York veterans should know if Manhattan and Brooklyn VA hospitals are closing

STATEN ISLAND, NY — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently released recommendations to “modernize and realign” its Integrated Veterans Services Network (VISN), proposing changes that would dramatically alter how and where veterans New York receive medical attention.

The vast proposed plans for VISN 02, also known as Metro New York Market, include the closure of the VA Medical Centers in Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as the alignment of the VA Community Multi-Service Outpatient Clinic in Staten Island with the New Jersey market. VISN 02 includes the five boroughs of New York and several northern counties.

But what does the VA’s plan to “reset the market” mean for day-to-day health care services for veterans? That of the department Report “Recommendations to the Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission” detail the following changes:

Inpatient services available at affiliated facilities. Rather than replacing the Manhattan and Brooklyn VA Medical Centers, the VA will use its partnerships with “university affiliates” to provide medical and surgical services to inpatients. Some of the VA’s academic affiliates in VISN 02 include New York University, Mount Sinai, New York Medical College, SUNY Health Science Center, New York-Presbyterian, and Hospital for Special Surgery.

Ambulatory services in the new community ambulatory clinics (CBOC). The VA will establish two new CBOCs – creating a new one in Brooklyn and relocating the current Harlem CBOC to a new site near Harlem.

New Brooklyn CBOC in downtown Brooklyn. According to the VA, the majority of Brooklyn veterans enrolled in VA health care reside in central and east Brooklyn. Rather than locating the CBOC where the medical center is located in Fort Hamilton, the new CBOC would be located closer to the majority of borough members in central Brooklyn.

Alignment of the Staten Island clinic with the New Jersey market. With the Manhattan and Brooklyn VA medical centers closed, the next closest VA medical center or hospital for Staten Island veterans would be in New Jersey. The VA’s resolution is to align Staten Island with the New Jersey market instead of worrying about the five boroughs.

Staten Island veterans will be able to access inpatient services at East Orange. Under the proposed changes, Staten Island veterans would have to go to the East Orange VA Medical Center in Essex County for emergency and emergency care, as well as surgical services.

Expansion of mental health services in the SI clinic. Among the recommendations is the expansion of Staten Island’s CBOC multi-service mental health services. The AIR report does not specify which services would be added or expanded.

Brooklyn Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (RRTP) to move to Queens. Another drastic change would be to move PRTR from Brooklyn, which is housed in Fort Hamilton Medical Center, and consolidate it as part of the St. Alban Medical Center program. This would mean that the program is moved about 20 miles.

Pictured is a ‘future market map’ depicting proposed changes to Veterans Integrated Services Network (VISN) 02 – New York’s metropolitan market – including the closure of Brooklyn and Manhattan Veterans Medical Centers (VAMCs) ), building partnerships with community affiliates and new communities. Based outpatient clinics (CBOC). The changes also include the realignment of Staten Island’s multi-service CBOC under the New Jersey market. (Screenshot from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ “Va Recommendations to the Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission” report, published March 2022)

HOW LONG WILL REAIGNMENT OCCUR IF APPROVED?

In its report, the VA points out that all realignment plans and “strategic collaborations” at new and affiliated facilities – such as New York University – would be put in place before the closure of medical centers in Brooklyn and Manhattan. .

They also note that the closure of medical centers is “contingent on the outcome of the proposed strategic collaboration” — if the VA is unable to supplement inpatient and outpatient services elsewhere, the existing Manhattan VAMC, for example, would remain open.

It could be years before the drastic VA market “reset” actually kicks in. All VA proposals must be approved by the AIR Committee, the President and Congress.

According to government executivethe commission will have a year to review the recommendations before forwarding the report to President Joe Biden.

Biden may submit additional recommendations before submitting them to Congress. If submitted, Congress may approve the recommendations as a whole by inaction or reject them as a whole by passing a joint resolution of disapproval.

If approved, the VA says it must implement the recommendations within three years, the timing of which will vary according to the different markets.

In short, there are many significant barriers between the recommendations and their implementation.

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