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October 10, 2006

  Pryce, Tiberi, Hobson Announce Awarding of VA Inpatient Care Contract

Washington , DC – Today, Members of the central Ohio Congressional delegation applauded the announcement by Secretary R. James Nicholson of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs that the VA has awarded to OhioHealth a four-year, $20.7 million contract to provide some inpatient and emergency care services for veterans at its member hospitals.

Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R-Columbus), Congressman Pat Tiberi ( R-Genoa Township), and Congressman David Hobson (R-Springfield) have been working with area hospital networks for several years in an effort to facilitate an inpatient care contract with the VA. The Secretary’s announcement represents significant progress toward finding a permanent solution to this gap in health care options for area veterans.

“While this contract is good news for our veterans, it is but the first step toward our nonnegotiable goal of providing full, inpatient care services for veterans in central Ohio,” said Pryce. “We will not rest until the veterans of central Ohio have comprehensive inpatient service options befitting the sacrifices they have made for our nation.”

“I am pleased with the initial response to this longstanding problem,” said Congressman Tiberi, “but there’s still work to be done.  I’ll continue to work with my colleagues until we achieve the goal of providing all eligible veterans with inpatient care, even beyond that required in emergency or urgent situations, right here in Central Ohio.”

“Today’s announcement that Central Ohio veterans will have improved access to emergency care complements our efforts of providing them with comprehensive health care in the future,” Congressman Hobson said.

As a result of the contract, the VA will now refer some emergent patients in central Ohio to the OhioHealth member hospitals including Riverside Methodist Hospital, Grant Medical Center, Doctors Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital, and upon completion in 2007, Dublin Methodist Hospital.

Under the new contract, area veterans requiring urgent or emergency care will be referred to one of the OhioHealth member hospitals for treatment. The contract will improve the continuity and coordination of veteran care by treating them within one local hospital system and provide an enhanced array of inpatient services to treat congestive heart failure, stroke, pneumonia, and some coronary artery disease, among other things.

Pryce, Tiberi and Hobson were equally successful in securing funding for the new Chalmers P. Wylie Veterans Affairs Ambulatory Care Center, a 295,000 square foot outpatient facility to be located at the Defense Supply Center Columbus. Together, they had worked for years to impress upon the VA the need for an expanded ambulatory care facility in Columbus, and helped secure $95 million in construction funding. The outpatient facility is scheduled to become operational in 2008.