House Authorizes VA Medical Facilities:

The House passed H.R. 5815, the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Facility Authorization Act of 2006, which includes initiatives to open hospitals, share medical equipment, and restore medical centers on the US Gulf Coast. The legislation calls for new hospitals in Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla., as well as the expansion of the Spinal Cord Injury Center in Tampa, Fla., according to a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee press release. The bill would see greater VA and DOD collaboration and enhanced VA resource sharing with universities on expensive medical equipment as a cost-saving measure, chairman Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) said. The House bill also would authorize the restoration of veterans’ medical centers in Biloxi, Miss., and New Orleans.