Ross Spano: What’s Taking So Long to Build VA Medical Clinic in Lakeland?

Freshman U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., isn’t happy with how a VA medical center in Lakeland is coming along.

Spano testified before the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee “to bring attention to the slow progress in opening a VA Outpatient Clinic in Lakeland” on Wednesday.

“The VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017 was signed into law in August 2017 and authorized nearly $11 million for the facility. The lease award is reportedly planned for March 2021 with the facility opening in March 2024,” Spano’s office noted.

“We can build a skyscraper in less than seven years. Why is it taking that long for a VA Outpatient Clinic?” Spano asked. “I am discouraged by the amount of time it is taking for the project to make its way through the various agencies’ approval processes.”

Currently, veterans in Spanod’s district are served James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa.

“One of their top priorities is opening a new Lakeland VA Outpatient Clinic, which would be considerably closer to the veteran population of Central Florida. However, the timeline has been longer than what was originally expected,” Spano’s office noted.

“The veterans should not have to wait seven years for this clinic,” said Spano. “While there are many other priorities I would like to work with this committee on to improve the care and services available to our nation’s veterans, the expedited opening of the Lakeland Outpatient Clinic is my top priority.”

First elected to Congress last year after three terms in the Florida House, Spano represents parts of Hillsborough, Lake and Polk Counties. He is expected to be a top target for Democrats in the 2020 election cycle.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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