Military News

Child-care program at VA’s American Lake hospital will remain open despite threat of closure

The doors will stay open at the Department of Veterans Affairs American Lake hospital’s child-care center.

The site was expected to close on Tuesday when its funding as a VA pilot program was scheduled to run out. Instead, Congress passed a bill that included a provision allowing the VA to continue operating the child-care program through Dec. 31, 2015.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., wrote the measure to extend the child-care program’s funding as part of a broader veterans bill that provided new funding to several expiring programs.

Murray helped launch the American Lake childcare center in a different veterans’ health care bill she wrote in 2010. She advocated for the childcare program as a way to make sure that veterans would not put off their own medical appointments because of their responsibilities at home.

President Barack Obama signed the bill on Friday and the the VA Puget Sound was able to keep the service operating without an interruption, VA spokesman Chad Hutson said.

“We are thankful there was no interruption in service for Veterans,” said VA Puget Sound Director Michael J. Murphy.

VA Puget Sound has been getting calls from patients who have been concerned about reports of the child-care center’s closure. The VA on Monday used an announcement on social media to assure patients the childcare program would not shut down.

The Child Care Center can be reached at 253-589-4223.