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Why not use facility here for VA center instead of building a new one?

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Brunswick County commissioners have made it clear they would like to see the current Brunswick Community Hospital become a Veterans Affairs facility in the future.

The current hospital will become vacant when the new Brunswick Novant Medical Center opens in 2011.

Since the current facility is already designed to serve medical needs, we think it makes sense it continue to serve the community in that capacity. In addition to a VA clinic, some ideas suggested for the site include a nursing home, a mental health facility or a continuation of health education programs for Brunswick Community College.

Any of these ideas would serve the county well and would meet underserved needs of Brunswick County residents.

We support the commissioners’ resolutions to convert the existing facility into a VA care center.

Brunswick County is a growing retirement community and many veterans and their families are choosing to retire here. That means the some already 13,000 veterans here will likely continue to be a growing group. It is important to provide them with their earned Veterans Affairs medical care right here in Brunswick County.

Currently, residents must go either to Fayetteville or travel to South Carolina for VA services. Local veterans need something closer to home.

Recently, Congressman Mike McIntyre said he would support a new Veterans Affairs facility. He has put his support behind a brand new $90-plus million dollar facility up the road in Wilmington.

That plan just doesn’t make sense. Why would the federal government use more than $90 million in taxpayer funds to build a brand new facility when the same objective can likely be achieved at a cost savings by using the BCH facility?

Ultimately, the county’s hospital authority will have final say as to how the BCH facility is going to be used. We hope they will give strong consideration for the VA center and that those in the VA and other federal and government officials look at the numbers behind the plan and open a facility right here in Brunswick County.