Atlanta could get a new VA hospital, but it could take decades

ATLANTA — The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to build a new VA hospital in Atlanta, but that multi-billion dollar plan could take decades to complete.

A new VA hospital could restructure healthcare for veterans across metro Atlanta, but waiting decades may not be the fix they are hoping for.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray has learned that this ambitious proposal could come to fruition, but it has an uphill battle over many years. First, the proposal would have to get through Congress, which would take years in a best case scenario.

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The proposal, if approved, would demolish the current VA Medical Center and start from scratch.

A report from the VA Asset and Review Infrastructure Commission outlines the proposal to build a new hospital in metro Atlanta, another new facility in Gwinnett County and bulldoze the current VA Medical Center.

“Well, I’m going to be reviewing carefully the commission’s recommendations. They have recommended significant upgrades for VA facilities in metro Atlanta,” Senator Jon Ossoff told Gray.

Channel 2 Investigates has reported for years on concerns with at the Atlanta VA.


Cobb County Marine Corps veteran Daniel Hesters says his monthly mental health appointments did not happen at all for more than a year until just a week ago.

“You show up and nobody ever shows up to the Zoom,” Hesters said. “It’s almost as if they fell off the face of the earth.”

While he likes the idea of services being available closer to home, Hesters says he’s not sure that a shiny new building will fix the VA’s problems.

“Something’s gotta be done internally as well. You just can’t put a new face on it and call it a day,” he said.

The price tag for the proposal would be a massive $56 billion, which is $3 billion more than maintaining the status quo.

Sen. Ossoff says because of the price and the timeline, other efforts need to be undertaken to address more immediate concerns.

“I want to update you on my efforts which have been informed, in part, by your investigative reporting with respect to the performance of the Atlanta VA. My team is continuing to demand swifter turnaround times, high integrity records and record keeping,” he explained.

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Gray received an email on Wednesday from a VA employee union telling him that they would be urging President Biden to reject the plan because it calls for some facility closures across the country.