Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rep. Gus Bilirakis sets town hall on Pasco VA clinic

NEW PORT RICHEY — U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis has scheduled a town hall meeting for Wednesday to seek veterans' input on potential sites for a Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in Pasco County.

"Although the final decision on the location remains in the hands of the VA, I feel it is my duty to solicit opinions from veterans and their families within our communities," said Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor.

Bilirakis, vice chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, pushed to include the clinic in a federal law approved two weeks ago to ease access to health care for veterans. The $16.3 billion package includes funds for 27 new or expanded clinics nationwide. The Pasco clinic was the only one in Florida.

The plan is still preliminary but calls for consolidating services at five existing clinics in New Port Richey and Port Richey: the main outpatient clinic, a dental clinic, a mental health annex, an eye clinic and a center that coordinates home-bound veteran services.

All of those would be housed in a 114,000-square-foot space. The VA maintains that the move is a consolidation only, but Bilirakis has said he hopes the clinic offers some new services.

The clinic is expected to be located in central Pasco, possibly in Land O'Lakes, and near a major highway, or close to a major population center like New Port Richey. One potential site is the former Community Hospital in New Port Richey.

Once a deal is reached, the property owner would have 26 months to open the clinic. The VA has proposed leasing the space for $11 million over 20 years.

Whatever the VA decides, Bilirakis said he hopes it accommodates the 14,000 veterans who use the various clinics now. Pasco has 54,000 veterans.

"This clinic is for them, and their considerations should be taken into account," he said.

The meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the West Pasco Government Center, 8731 Citizens Drive, New Port Richey.

Contact Rich Shopes at or (727) 869-6236.

Rep. Gus Bilirakis sets town hall on Pasco VA clinic 08/23/14 [Last modified: Saturday, August 23, 2014 9:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)


    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Matt Kuchar plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole and finishes with bogey for 1-under 69. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes.
  2. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  3. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  4. Rays claim not to be panicking after third straight brutal loss to Rangers (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There was no "here we go again" moment in the dugout as Rougned Odor's two-run homer in the eighth inning arced across Tropicana Field and toward the rightfield seats, even though when it landed, the score was tied and another late-inning Rays lead was blown.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria heads back to the dugout after fouling out in the ninth inning with the potential tying run on first.
  5. White House signals acceptance of Russia sanctions bill


    WASHINGTON — The White House indicated Sunday that President Donald Trump would accept new legislation imposing sanctions on Russia and curtailing his authority to lift them on his own, a striking turnaround after a broad revolt in Congress by lawmakers of both parties who distrusted his friendly approach to …

    President Donald Trump’s ability to lift sanctions against Russia would be blocked.