Senate approves funds for Zablocki spinal cord unit

Published: November 19, 2006  |  Source:

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday night approved the 2007 Military Construction Appropriations Bill, which includes a request by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) for $32.5 million in funding for the Spinal Cord Injury Unit at the Milwaukee Veterans Administration Zablocki Medical Center.

“The highly specialized work being done at the Zablocki Spinal Cord Injury Unit cannot be easily replicated anywhere else in the state. Our veterans, including the stream of soldiers returning from perilous work in Iraq, deserve the highest quality of medical care and the most advanced treatment available. The much-needed upgrade at Zablocki will bring state-of-the-art technology to Wisconsin’s veterans, and I’m pleased that the Senate recognized the value in this project,” Kohl said.

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) said, “The Department of Veterans Affairs listed Zablocki’s Spinal Cord Injury Unit as a priority for inclusion in the 2007 budget, and I fought so hard to have Zablocki included in the House Military Quality of Life bill. In spite of the VA’s endorsement and my efforts, the House Appropriations Committee left Zablocki off its list of veterans’ facilities to be upgraded, and it became vital that this funding be included in the Senate version of the Military Construction Appropriations Bill. I am so grateful to Sen. Kohl for doing all he could to make this happen, and will work together with him to try to keep the funding in the final conference bill. Our veterans have risked their lives to defend our country, and deserve the highest quality of care.”

Zablocki has the only spinal cord injury unit in the state and is one of only 23 nationwide.

Veterans returning from Iraq are adding to the 44,000 patients currently receiving treatment for serious spinal cord injuries. In Wisconsin, the V.A. center cares for 500 veterans as inpatients, but reaches out to another 10,000 a year with outpatient services.