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VA exploring public-private plan for new Omaha facility

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Omaha could get a $136 million medical facility built next to the ailing veterans hospital if a public-private initiative is carried through.

Congressman Brad Ashford, of Omaha, represents Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, and he said Wednesday the Department of Veterans Affairs plan would provide 157,000 square feet of new medical space. Ashford told Omaha TV station KETV the VA would provide $56 million, and private donors would be asked to supply the remaining $80 million.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald told the Omaha World-Herald that his department is interested in testing the financing arrangement. He said, "Omaha is a great case to do that with, and that's why we're pursuing it so hard."

A 2007 study found the hospital was plagued by heating, cooling and other problems.

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