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Release No: 534-02
October 18, 2002


Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. William Winkenwerder and Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert H. Roswell announced today an agreement between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for health care delivery in the North Chicago-Great Lakes area.

This agreement results from active cooperation between DoD and VA, the assistance of interested members of Congress and a year-long study to preserve accessible health care while identifying the most cost-effective arrangement for providing care to veterans and military personnel.

The agreement calls for the Navy to construct a new ambulatory medical facility for outpatient services. The North Chicago VA Medical Center will provide comprehensive surgical care. The Navy, through partnership with North Chicago VAMC, will use the VA hospital for its inpatient medical and surgical needs. Additionally, Navy surgical teams will work at the North Chicago VAMC, enabling them to maintain their surgical competencies.

"With this agreement, the Navy gains a modern ambulatory care center at a cost less than building a new hospital; VA beneficiaries gain increased access to surgical care closer to their homes and families; and the overall operating expenses of both departments should be reduced," said Winkenwerder. "This agreement strengthens our partnership with Veterans Affairs, and most importantly, helps us both to better serve our beneficiaries - military personnel, their families, and our veterans."

Sharing between these two facilities has begun and will continue to grow as the Navy's ambulatory clinic is completed and all elements of the agreement take effect.

"This joint initiative marks the beginning of an era of renewed - and I believe, unprecedented - collaboration between the health care resources of VA and the Defense Department," said Roswell. "This partnership is critical to our ability to continue to deliver high quality care to our respective beneficiaries across the country."

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