Donnelly_front of capital 2017U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly Friday welcomed the upcoming opening of the St. Joseph County VA Health Care Center. Donnelly has worked since 2007 to make the center a reality for north central Indiana veterans. Outpatient services in this 71,000-square-foot building will open in three phases over the next two months. The new clinic will hold an eligibility fair this week so veterans can tour the facility and learn whether they qualify for VA assistance. The center will celebrate its opening with a ribbon cutting on September 29th.

Donnelly said, “This VA health care center is something I’ve been working hard to make a reality since 2007 and I’m proud it’s opening. This has always been about ensuring north central Indiana veterans can access quality care closer to home—rather than having to travel to Chicago or Fort Wayne and that is why I worked tirelessly over the years with the VA, local veterans, community advocates, and my Republican and Democratic colleagues in Congress to get this across the finish line.”

Donnelly has worked for a decade to open the St. Joseph County VA Health Care Center:

  • In 2007, while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Donnelly first asked the VA to evaluate the services provided to South Bend area veterans and provide data to better understand how often, how far, and for what services local Hoosier veterans must travel to receive health care.
  • Donnelly held roundtables and meetings with veterans, advocates, and community leaders to discuss expanding veterans’ services in St. Joseph County.
  • In 2009, Donnelly and then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced approval of the St. Joseph County Health Care Center.
  • In 2012, Donnelly worked with his colleagues, Republican and Democratic, to secure congressional authorization and funding for the center, and then worked with the VA to open an interim health care center in South Bend.
  • In 2015, Donnelly participated in the groundbreaking for the Health Care Center.
  • In 2016, Donnelly wrote a letter to Transpo and the VA of Northern Indiana Health Care System calling on them to ensure South Bend and Mishawaka-area veterans have access to reliable public transportation to the new health care clinic.
  • In 2017, Following Donnelly’s request, Transpo and the VA of Northern Indiana Health Care System announced they would implement a public transit plan to provide veterans in the Transpo service area with access to the new health center. Transpo said it would operate a new bus route with hourly service Monday through Friday to the center.
  • Last week, Donnelly and Transpo announced that the bus stop at the VA health care center would be open starting 9/13 in advance of the center’s 9/18 opening to provide veterans and employees in the Transpo service area with public transit access to the facility.