Senator Concerned About CARES

September 27, 2003

News & Links

America's Veterans

Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., says he is "unconvinced" that the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services initiative is on the right track to providing the highest quality care in a timely fashion at VA medical facilities. No one would disagree, he said, that the VA system deserves ongoing oversight and scrutiny. Yet, the current effort seems to be moving hastily and without sufficient thought, he charged. He is concerned that, in the end, CARES will be known for cost cutting rather than enhancements. The draft CARES plan targets 11 hospitals for possible closure and 31 hospitals for major mission changes. Some 6,000 beds are on the chopping block, including a minimum of 1,847 long-term care beds, 1,485 domiciliary beds and 778 psychiatric beds. VA insists that these beds will be replaced, but Graham said officials have no details on where or when.