Congressman Kim, Senators Menendez and Booker, Call on VA to Provide Answers, Solutions After Failing Ocean County Veterans

May 18, 2020
Press Release


Congressman Kim, Senators Menendez and Booker, Call on VA to Provide Answers, Solutions After Failing Ocean County Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03), and New Jersey Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, called on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide transparency on why attempts to secure a new site for an updated veterans health care facility in Ocean County failed, and answers on what the VA will do provide immediate relief for veterans struggling with a lack of access to parking and health care providers.

Built in the early 1990s, the James J. Howard VA CBOC was constructed to serve the nearly 5,000 residents residing in the region at the time. Nearly three decades later, the Brick CBOC is currently serving over 10,000 active patients from a community of nearly 90,000 eligible veterans across three New Jersey counties. In addition to serving over 10,000 active patients in the community, the temporary consolidation of all New Jersey CBOCs into four clinic hubs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has relocated patients that normally utilize the Tinton Falls CBOC and the Hamilton CBOC to the James J. Howard CBOC – further straining the facility’s clinical capacity.

“This announcement now requires the Brick CBOC to serve an even larger patient load, without adequate space to do so effectively. When our veterans signed up to serve our nation, we made the promise to take care of them on their return. Now more than ever, our veterans need to be able to receive quality, and accessible healthcare, and they deserve to know when the promised new Brick CBOC will finally come to fruition,” stated the members in the letter addressed to Dr. Joan McInerney, Network Director for VISN 2 VA New York/New Jersey VA Health Care Network.

The members go on to ask the following questions in the letter to Dr. McInerney:

  1. Why did the most recent VA CFM solicitation fail?  Were there any other communications between the developer and the VA regarding the developer’s attempts to change its offer to the VA?
  2. With this additional delay, what will the VA do in the interim to immediately increase access, decrease wait times, and improve care for our veterans in Ocean County? Please be as specific as possible as it relates to additional providers, parking, options for additional medical space and patient satisfaction. Additionally, please expand on the proposal for VA employees to park offsite that you previously expressed support for.
  1. What steps will the VA take to prevent a third solicitation failure from happening? In order to decrease the timeline to award a new contract, has consideration been given to re-examine already considered top-level bidders or limit the bidding process to the site that was already approved on April 6, 2020? Please include details on why only one bidder met the requirements established by VA CFM for the previous bid. 

The full letter on this issue can be found by clicking here.