Is this the last word?
The Record of Decision dated May 30, 2017 and signed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on October 12 makes it sound like an easy decision. The 23-page document contains only three words or phrases in the text highlighted by the VA to draw attention to the central logic of the decision.
Page 1. “The purpose of the proposed project is to provide Louisville area Veterans with facilities of sufficient capability (functional) and capacity to meet their current and projected future health care needs.”
“The proposed project is needed because the current hospital and CBOCs [outpatient clinics] are operating at maximum capacity and are unable to accommodate the projected increase in the regional Veteran population. The configuration and condition of the existing 63•year-old Louisville VAMC facility offers limited options to expand to meet these needs, and parking at the Zorn Avenue VAMC is insufficient.”
Page 7. “For these reasons, VA does not view the general locations or sites suggested in public comments as reasonable alternatives warranting additional investigation and detailed evaluation in the EIS [Environmental Impact Statement]. Chapter 2 of the Final EIS includes a detailed description of the site selection process, as well as the reasons for eliminating the Fegenbush and Downtown sites, and for not reconfiguring the existing VAMC on Zorn Avenue.”
It has not been a straight path! Continue reading “VA Declares Brownsboro Site The Final Choice For New Hospital.”
Beginning last Thursday, word began trickling out to journalists and the public that KentuckyOne Health, a major regional unit of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), was preparing to announce plans to sell almost all its hospitals and medical centers in Louisville and a handful elsewhere in the state. I had been told earlier in the week that the announcement would be made today, Monday, but there were so many leaks that KentuckyOne sent an email to its employees outlining its plans. I presume KentuckyOne wanted take control of the message before the reportage dam broke. The email can be read here.
For those of us in Louisville, the only major facility not being sold is Our Lady of Peace, a psychiatric hospital. Both of KentuckyOne’s acute care hospitals, (Jewish Hospital and Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital), the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute, and all four outpatient Medical Centers (Jewish East, South, Southwest, and Northeast) are on the chopping block. Nearby Jewish Hospital Shelbyville, which recently underwent a critical review by the Inspector General for an EMTALA violation, is also for sale. KentuckyOne employs many physicians. The fate of individual owned- or contracted medical practices in Louisville and elsewhere is not clear to me from the email. Continue reading “KentuckyOne Health To Sell Its Major Assets In Louisville.”
A public hearing to present the results and hear comments about the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Replacement VA Medical Center in Louisville was held on November 15 at Christ Church United Methodist on Brownsboro Road. This is just down the road from the favored site on a vacant former farm on the southeast corner of the intersections of the I-264/Waterson Expressway and Route 42/22/Brownsboro Road. Two separate sessions were held: at noon and 6 pm. I attended the earlier session which lasted just shy of three hours. I did not count heads, but I estimate that something fewer than 100 people were in attendance including VA staff, consultants, and reporters. I learned about the hearing earlier from the newspaper. When I got home that afternoon, I found my personal notice in the mail delivered after the fact by the VA to all those who signed up as interested persons. I do not know if more people would have attended had more timely notice been given in this manner. The people who did show up were clearly already engaged, seemed to be largely neighbors of the project, and almost uniformly against locating the project at Brownsboro for multiple reasons. I do not know how the evening session went and will limit my comments to the midday session. Continue reading “What Is Happening at Louisville’s Veterans Hospital?”
Several news outlets recently noted a decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington DC to conduct full environmental impact studies (EIS) on the previously proposed sites for a replacement VA hospital at the first-choice Brownsboro Road and Waterson Expressway site, and the runner-up on Factory Lane near the Jefferson Expressway and Old Henry Rd. This latter location is adjacent to Jewish Hospital Northeast Medical Center. This latter was also been called the “St. Joseph Site” because the original large acreage was owned my the St. Joseph Catholic Orphans Society. Earlier less rigorous (and correspondingly less expensive and time consuming) EIS assessments did not uncover unmanageable obstacles to proceeding. Accordingly, planning for the favored Brownsboro Rd. site is well along with ground-breaking anticipated in 2017. I commented on the playing of the EIS card by opponents in my report on the public hearing held last September. Just this week I received the attached notice from the VA giving a few more details.
Continue reading “Temporary Annoyance Or Tactical Setback For Louisville VA Hospital Replacement Process?”