WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, and Kweisi Mfume, (all D-Md.), Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, and Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. today announced that they have successfully secured authorization and funding for a new Baltimore-based Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC), operated by the Veterans Health Administration, in a bill released by the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT Act), which is expected to be considered by the U.S. Senate in the coming weeks, is comprehensive, bipartisan legislation led by the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). The bill provides healthcare benefits for all generations of toxic-exposed veterans for the first time in the nation’s history. The Maryland lawmakers fought to include authorization for a new Baltimore CBOC lease as well as an initial $43 millionin funding for the CBOC. The new facility will replace and expand the outpatient services currently provided at the existing Baltimore VA Clinic Annex on Fayette Street while reducing the strain on the Baltimore VA Medical Center.
“We’ve got to keep our promises to veterans who put themselves as risk to serve our country, and that includes ensuring they have access to high-quality health care. That’s why I worked alongside my colleagues from both parties on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to secure funding for this new Baltimore outpatient clinic that will help deliver much-needed services to our Baltimore-area veterans. This is a big win for our community and a critical step forward in improving the network of care for veterans across our state. We’ll be fighting to ensure this legislation – which also includes a historic investment in care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxins – is signed into law,” said Senator Van Hollen.
“It is critical that our veterans have access to top-notch health care services in a timely and convenient manner. They have served this country on the battlefield and it’s our time to repay that debt here at home,” said Senator Cardin. “Expanding the network of Community Based Outpatient Clinics available to Baltimore area veterans will be a game-changer, bringing an array of state-of-the-art health care services within easier reach. Team Maryland will always keep our promises to our veterans.”
“Our veterans deserve state-of-the-art healthcare in state-of-the-art facilities,” Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said. “They also deserve a healthcare system that is accessible and convenient. This new clinic will help us deliver on all of these promises and I am proud of the team effort that went into making it happen for our local veterans.”
“Our veterans have made tremendous sacrifices for this country, and we must thank them by providing the best care possible. Creating a new Baltimore CBOC facility will strengthen veterans’ access to the benefits they have rightfully earned,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “This important part of the Honoring Our PACT Act serves the legislation’s broader mission of improving care for veterans exposed to toxic substances and upholds our promises to millions of veterans.”
“We owe a great debt of gratitude to our veterans as a nation, so it is a privilege to fight for them in Congress,” said Congressman Kweisi Mfume. “Helping to meet the health care needs of veterans is just one aspect of the work we do each day to honor them for their service.”
“Baltimore’s veterans are a key part of our communities, and they deserve access to the best health care we can offer. I am grateful to our incredible Federal Delegation for securing funds for a new outpatient clinic right here in Baltimore so that our veterans can get the care they need close to home,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott.
“Taking care of our veterans should be a critical priority for all of us, and this new funding could go a long way toward improving services for veterans from around the Baltimore region. I’m grateful to Senator Van Hollen and all of our members of Congress for their efforts to bring these resources to the region and to support the men and women who have served our country,” said Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr.
This legislation provides for a lease of an approximately 112,624 square foot outpatient clinic in the vicinity of Baltimore, MD, including 800 parking spaces. The new facility would enable VA to enhance outpatient services and provide more primary care space than is currently available at the Baltimore VA Clinic Annex – allowing for the full implementation of the Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) model of care delivery, improving operational efficiencies and the Veteran experience. This CBOC will be a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient health care facility offering primary care, mental health, specialty care, and ancillary services to veterans in the Baltimore area.