Abramson Discusses Transition, VA Hospital

by Gabe Bullard on August 17, 2010

It’s unclear when the Veterans Administration will choose a location for a new hospital in Louisville. But Mayor Jerry Abramsons says he’s finished trying to influence the VA’s decision.

Last month, a VA official told WFPL a report on the viability of various hospital locations was forthcoming. The VA is considering building a new hospital downtown near other hospitals, at the current hospital location on Zorn Avenue or within fifteen miles of downtown.

Abramson and his colleagues have encouraged the VA to split their decision and put inpatient services downtown. He says they’ve made a strong argument, but can longer lobby the VA.

“We keep calling up there and they keep saying ‘Don’t bother us. We’ll call you, don’t call us.’ We don’t know how long that’s going to take in terms of the ultimate decision, but we’ve got all of our papers in—the University of Louisville, the city, the state—submitting it,” he says.

Others have encouraged the VA to avoid downtown and make all the services available at another location easily reachable by car.

Abramson made his comments on WFPL’s State of Affairs Tuesday. He also discussed his impending departure.

There are less than five months left in Abramson’s term, and he says he’s ready to help the new mayor move in to Metro Hall. Abramson built a transition fund into the current budget to pay for the next mayor’s transition team. Abramson says there will be offices and computers available for that team immediately after the election.

“We feel like we have sufficient funds to help them with the transition,” he says. “Then it’s up to me to work with the incoming mayor and my staff to show them the issues that are still open for discussion and to ensure they understand, as best we can in a month and a half to two months.”

Abramson has chosen to seek the Lieutenant Governor’s office next year rather than run for re-election this year.

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