CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A recent review of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities across the country recommends moving some services from the VA campus in Leeds to Connecticut.

The Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission (AIR) will be releasing a report on Monday with recommendations for modernizing VA health care facilities as well as expanding and improving health care delivery, nationwide.

During a ZOOM call Thursday, VA Secretary Denis McDonough discussed current conditions at VA facilities, including infrastructure issues and health care management. McDonough emphasized the importance of bringing the VA healthcare system into the 21st century with updated medical facilities, recognizing gender specific care, and a focus on mental health, substance abuse, and homelessness. “We need to convince them to stay with us, so they can age with us,” said McDonough.

McDonough also mentioned the high turnover in nurses and other clinical workers, and the need to create incentives to keep employees long term. “A work force is something we are talking about all the time, human infrastructure,” he said.

The 22News I-Team contacted the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System about the possibility of services at the Leeds facility being reduced, or closed entirely. Sarah Robinson, Staff Assistant to the Director – Public Affairs Officer, provided this statement:

“There will be no immediate changes. Veterans will always be at the center of what we do. The Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission is an opportunity to redesign VA health care to maximize access and outcomes for current and future generations of Veterans. It is important to note that any recommendations to the upcoming AIR Commission are just that—recommendations. Nothing is changing now for Veteran access to care or VA employees. Any potential changes to VA’s health care infrastructure may be several years away and are dependent on Commission, Presidential, and Congressional decisions, as well as robust stakeholder engagement and planning. VA is not leaving any market. Between outpatient care, strategic collaborations, and referrals to the community, VA will continue to deliver timely access to world-class care to every Veteran, in the community and in rural areas, in every corner of the country.”

Sarah Robinson, Public Affairs Officer (Acting) for VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System

22News will provide the full report on our website as soon as it becomes available.

Read about the Veterans Policy Research Institute and the research being done on military veteran issues.