The Veterans Affairs Department said it finalized a much-debated plan for adjusting to new demand patterns and will spend $1 billion annually for several years implementing the plan. The VA said it will close hospitals in Pittsburgh; Brecksville, Ohio; and Gulfport, Miss. It also will transfer all but long-term-care services out of its Livermore, Calif., hospital. The 20-year plan calls for new hospitals in Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla., a replacement facility in Denver and 156 new outpatient clinics nationwide. The hospitals slated for closure must have an implementation plan by this September. The changes are expected to increase enrollment in the VA's healthcare network to 33% of eligible veterans by 2022 from 28% today. The restructuring reflects a shift in veterans populations to Sun Belt states from northern cities. -- by Tony Fong
VA unveils 20-year plan to meet shifting demand
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