The VA Medical Center in the Bronx is the oldest VA facility in New York City, celebrating over 75 years service to veterans. The Medical Center is situated on a historic site in the borough of the Bronx. Located on the highest point in New York City, it served as a strategic vantage point during the Revolutionary War. In 1847 Frederick Bailey bought several acres of land where the hospital now stands. After his death In 1889, Bailey's heirs sold the estate to the Sisters of Charity of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. The Sisters of Charity constructed and operated an orphanage on the site until 1920. The Boy's Chapel, built in the 1800's, remains on the campus and is used daily.
In 1921, the Treasury Department purchased the property from the Archdiocese of New York for use by the U.S. Public Health Service as a hospital for ex-service patients suffering from mental and nervous disorders. The purchase was turned over to the newly formed U.S. Veterans’ Bureau by Executive Order on April 20, 1922.
By adding several buildings throughout the years the Bureau made the Bronx hospital the second largest VA facility in the nation and the first veteran’s hospital in New York City. More recently, a 9-floor replacement facility was built through the late 70’s and dedicated in 1981. The modern replacement hospital includes an adjoining 2-floor nursing home and a 5-floor Research Building.
In November of 2004, the President signed Public Law 108-422, officially renaming the Bronx VA Medical Center after long-time veterans advocate, James J. Peters, who served over 30 years as Executive Director of the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (now United Spinal Association). On September 26th 2005, the medical center was officially renamed in honor of James J. Peters.
The James J. Peters VAMC is a tertiary care facility classified as a Clinical Referral Level 1 Facility. It is a teaching hospital, providing a full range of patient care services, with state-of-the-art technology as well as education and research. Comprehensive health care is provided through primary care, tertiary care, and long-term care in areas of medicine, surgery, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, oncology, dentistry, geriatrics, and extended care. The James J. Peters VAMC is a part of VA Network 3, which includes facilities in Brooklyn, Castle Point, Manhattan, Montrose, Northport, St. Albans (Queens), New York and East Orange and Lyons, New Jersey.
Today the James J. Peters VAMC has 311 authorized hospital beds and 120 nursing home beds and operates several regional referral points including Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and VISN referrals for Medical/Surgical subspecialties. For example, the James J. Peters VAMC SCI Patient Care Center is the referral point for VISN’s 2, 3 and 4 as well as Department of Defense (DOD) new SCI patients.
Additionally, the James J. Peters VAMC serves as home to the VISN 3 Network Telephone Care Program. This Program is staffed by Registered Nurses and available during WHEN (Weekends, Holidays, Evenings and Nights) hours. They provide telephone helpline service for veteran patients from 27 VA medical centers in VISN’s 2, 3, 4, &5 and is emergency backup for VISN 6 and 8. This regional call center Program is accredited by URAC.