State Representative Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) announced Thursday that he would introduce legislation during the 2018 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly that would create the Joint Study Committee on Converting Closed Hospitals to Veterans Homes. The study committee would examine the possibility of converting closed hospitals in Georgia, particularly those in rural areas, into state veterans’ homes.
“I think we need to look these hospitals that have closed in rural Georgia and re-purpose them for good use,” said Rep. Spencer. “These hospitals that have closed are just sitting vacant and not serving the community like they once did. I want to study this issue and work with our federal partners in the Veterans Administration in Washington D.C. to create a pilot program to see if this is a viable project to help serve our veterans. It is the least we can do for our veterans.”
Under the proposed legislation, a joint House and Senate study committee would be created to examine whether converting closed hospitals, particularly in rural areas, into state veterans homes would help to meet the needs of Georgia’s low-income veterans. Since 2013, six rural hospitals have closed in Georgia, and many of these hospitals are considered stranded assets without any governmental or public purpose. The study committee would work collaboratively with the U.S. Veterans Administration to explore this issue.
This legislation will be officially be introduced during the 2018 legislative session, which begins Monday, Jan. 8, 2018.
Spencer represents House Seat 180, which makes up counties in Southeast GA: Camden, Charlton, and Ware counties.