Part of the White House's recently announced American Jobs Plan includes $18 billion to upgrade and modernize U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and clinics. A 2015 analysis suggests that these updates are desperately needed. It found that most VA facilities are more than 50 years old, “five times older than the average building age for not-for-profit hospital systems in the United States.” They are also in poor condition: McKinsey and Company, Inc. estimated that VA would need two to three times its expected funding levels to maintain its facilities and meet projected growth needs.

Aging infrastructure can reduce veterans' access to high-quality health care, negatively affect the morale and effectiveness of VA's health care providers, and impede some eligible veterans from seeking care from VA. In 2015, RAND found that a lack of clinical space and having outdated space was a challenge to optimal functioning. As one VA Medical leader told us, “Of course we need more space, better equipment, and more doctors so we can spread out more…We will never compromise taking care of the patient, period. But…it's stressful for us.”

Read the full article about VA infrastructure by Carrie M. Farmer and Rajeev Ramchand at the RAND Corporation.