On Aug. 17, Omaha’s new VA ambulatory care clinic, which includes 157,000 square feet of suites for outpatient surgeries, a section designed specifically for care for female veterans, and new exam rooms, will open its doors. The clinic demonstrates a genuine commitment toward fulfilling our promise to our veterans. These services are more important than ever as thousands of our veterans are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This $86 million project was the result of a public-private partnership that I was proud to help bring into fruition and that should serve as a model for other communities looking to serve their veterans.
Nebraska community leaders and businesses developed a creative solution, which became the CHIP In for Vets Act. This legislation allowed community members to help take care of their own local veterans by contributing to the planning and construction of VA facilities. By allowing outside groups to pitch-in, projects could be completed more efficiently than through federal construction alone. As I worked with then-U.S. Reps. Brad Ashford and Lee Terry, representing Nebraska’s 2nd District, as well as VA Secretary Bob McDonald, to move this legislation across the hurdles, Omaha business leaders who were enthusiastic about the idea got to work raising an additional $30 million locally for the project.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, this clinic has now been completed according to schedule in just two years and will soon be open to the public. Because of the public-private partnership, the VA was able to build this facility more quickly and approximately $34 million under the original $120 million cost estimate for a standard VA federal construction project.
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