WECT INVESTIGATES: Rep. Rouzer wants answers on VA clinic's $280 - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

WECT INVESTIGATES: Rep. Rouzer wants answers on VA clinic's $280k monthly rent

Rep. Rouzer demanding answers on VA clinic's high rent. (Source: WECT) Rep. Rouzer demanding answers on VA clinic's high rent. (Source: WECT)
Rep. David Rouzer (Source: US Congress) Rep. David Rouzer (Source: US Congress)
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) -

US Congressman David Rouzer is now pressing for answers to troubles at the Wilmington VA Clinic.

Last month, WECT uncovered that taxpayers were spending $280k a month to rent the new clinic near the Wilmington International Airport. According to local commercial real estate brokers, that's about twice the going rate for prime medical office space here, based on square footage.

This discovery came after the clinic had been partially shut down for months due to water contamination issues. The VA told WECT they were at the mercy of their landlord, Summit Smith Healthcare of Wisconsin to fix the internal plumbing problems that were linked to the heavy metal contamination.

Earlier this month, after numerous questions from WECT about the continued rent payments despite the clinic being partially unusable, the VA announced it will seek reimbursement and damages from Summit Smith, due to their inability to see patients in the Wilmington VA's GI, Urology and Dental clinics since March.

On Thursday, Congressman Rouzer sent the following letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald regarding the internal plumbing issues at the Veterans Hospital in Wilmington, North Carolina, as well as the facility’s lease agreement.   

Months have passed without resolution to the plumbing issues at the Wilmington VA, which is unacceptable. Our veterans have been forced to find care at a non-VA facility in the community or drive a long distance to the Fayetteville VA Hospital. Veterans have made many sacrifices and they deserve the best care possible at a facility that is within a reasonable distance.

Additionally, I am also concerned about the reported expense associated with the lease of this facility. I have asked the Veterans Administration to provide my office with a copy of the lease agreement to get a better understanding of the monthly expenses. We should not be paying more for this facility than fair market price.

I am pleased the House Veterans Subcommittee on Oversight has agreed to look into these matters and hope the VA will act quickly to find an acceptable solution for our veterans.

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