Temple - Central Texas Veterans Health Care System
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Central Texas Veterans Health Care System

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Image of VA Hospital, formerly McCloskey General HospitalThe Olin E. Teague Veterans' Medical Center at Temple, Texas, had its origins in the McCloskey General Hospital, which was activated on June 16, 1942.

The hospital was named for Maj. James A. McCloskey, who was killed on Bataan on March 26, 1942, the first regular United States Army doctor to lose his life in World War II.

The hospital was one of the army's largest general hospitals and was outstanding as a center for orthopedic cases, amputations, and neurosurgery. It provided expert care and treatment for all military personnel and had many specialists on its staff. The reconditioning of sick and injured soldiers who did not need further hospital care was carried on at McCloskey Annex, Waco. The number of patients at the peak of admissions was more than 5,000.

In May 1946 the hospital was taken over by the Veterans Administration and became a general medical and surgical center. The two main hospital buildings were modernized and dedicated in 1967.

In 1979 the McCloskey Veterans Administration Center was renamed in honor of Olin E. Teague, who served as Chairman of the Committee on Veterans Affairs in the United States House of Representatives for 18 years.

A 120-bed nursing home care unit opened in 1981, and 1986 saw the completion of a $25 million clinical expansion project. A new domiciliary was completed in 1990, and in January 1991 a satellite outpatient clinic opened in Austin.

In the early 1990s the Center in total consisted of a medical, surgical, and psychiatric teaching hospital; the domiciliary; the nursing home care unit; and the outpatient clinic in Austin. At that time the Center served a 35-county primary service area in Central Texas.

In 1993 it had 510 authorized hospital beds, 120 nursing home beds, and 408 domiciliary beds. The staff numbered more than 1,400, including a medical staff of over 80 physicians. In fiscal year 1992 there were more than 8,000 hospital admissions and more than 190,000 outpatient visits in the clinics. In the early 1980s, the Center became affiliated with Texas A&M University College of Medicine as a Dean’s VA. It provided clinical training for students in medicine, nursing, and allied health. The Center’s active community volunteer program involved over 550 volunteers.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bell County Historical Commission, Story of Bell County, Texas (2 vols., Austin: Eakin Press, 1988).