VA Distributes More Than $1 Billion in ARRA Funds
Funds allocated to upgrade medical facilities, improve energy efficiency and restore cemeteries.
On Oct. 15, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it has distributed more than $1 billion in funds made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The funding is being used to modernize and replace existing VA medical facilities, award grants to states for veterans homes and make improvements at national cemeteries.
VA reported that it is upgrading nearly 14,000 inpatient bed spaces. The agency has also committed funds for 16 pharmacy renovation projects. More than 14,400 clinical improvement projects, some with multiple exam rooms, are being undertaken. In addition, projects at VA medical facilities will add or improve more than 26,000 parking spaces.
VA added that ARRA grants totaling $150 million will assist states in constructing, improving or acquiring nursing home, domiciliary or adult day health care facilities.
Physical improvements to VA medical facilities include investments in energy-efficiency projects; almost $400 million overall is targeted for energy projects and $90 million for renewable energy studies and projects.
VA is installing solar photovoltaic systems at facilities in Albuquerque, N.M.; Tucson, Ariz.; Dublin, Ga.; Calverton, N.Y.; and San Joaquin and Riverside, Calif.
The department is erecting a wind turbine in Bourne, Mass., and constructing a geothermal system at its medical center in St. Cloud, Minn. Additionally, VA is building renewably fueled co-generation systems at five medical facilities: Togus, Maine; White River Junction, Vt.; Chillicothe, Ohio; Loma Linda, Calif.; and Canandaigua, N.Y. It is also installing metering systems at all VA-owned facilities to monitor energy utilities, including electricity, water, chilled water, steam and natural gas consumption.
VA said $197 million will be invested in energy and water infrastructure improvements. VA facilities across the country will upgrade properties and structures to reduce energy consumption and water usage and better manage related costs.
Throughout VA's system of 131 national cemeteries, 392 improvement projects are underway using $50 million in ARRA funding.