At the VA West Texas Healthcare System, we’re dedicated to improving the lives of Veterans and their families every day.
About VA West Texas Healthcare System
The VA West Texas Healthcare System provides you with outstanding health care, trains America’s future health care providers, and conducts important medical research.
Health care and services
We provide you with health care services at 6 locations serving west Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Our facilities include the George H. O’Brien Jr. VA Medical Center in Big Spring and 5 community-based outpatient clinics in Abilene, Fort Stockton, San Angelo, and Odessa, Texas, and Hobbs, New Mexico.
To learn more about the services each location offers, visit the VA West Texas health services page.
The expertise and mission of the VA West Texas Healthcare System has shifted from that of an inpatient hospital to an outpatient leader in rural health care and telehealth services. Although our medical center stopped providing inpatient services in October 2013, we maintain 40-bed community living center and 40-bed domiciliary programs for Veterans who need that level of care. Our medical center also continues to provide a wide range of primary care and specialty health care services.
The area we serve is extremely rural, so we use many creative methods to serve Veterans’ health care needs. Those methods include a robust home-based primary care program, diverse and rapidly expanding telehealth services, non-institutional care programs, a strong tertiary referral system, and non-VA coordinated care. In addition, we continue to review and provide new and expanded services at our community-based outpatient clinics when we clearly see the need for those services.
The VA West Texas Healthcare System is one of the leading health care systems serving Veterans in the Veterans Integrated Service Network 17 (VISN 17), which includes medical centers and clinics in Texas and New Mexico.
Research and development
At VA West Texas Healthcare System, we conduct research to discover knowledge, develop VA scientists and health care leaders, and create innovations that advance health care for Veterans and the nation.
We offer Veterans the opportunity to participate in and benefit from our work. Our goal is to use research to promote better health and health care for all.
In our research program we create cutting-edge therapies in areas like:
Teaching and learning
At VA West Texas Healthcare System, our teaching hospitals provide a full range of services, with state-of-the-art technology as well as education and research. We provide professional training in most major medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties. We also offer training in many associated health professions.
We have a strong affiliation with the Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Lubbock and Odessa, Texas.
- VA West Texas health care serves Veterans in 33 counties across 53,000 square miles of rural geography in west Texas and southeastern New Mexico.
- More than 56,000 Veterans live within our service area; about 17,000 (roughly 30%) receive care from our medical center and clinics.
- On average, we complete 170,000 outpatient visits every year. The Big Spring VA Hospital opened its doors and admitted the first patient, a Marine Corps Veteran named James A. Waters, on July 15, 1950.
- The Big Spring VA Hospital cost $6 million to build and had 250 beds.
- Dr. L.B. Andrew, the first director of the new VA hospital, held a statewide drive to find 15 doctors, 52 nurses, and a handful of medical technicians and clerk stenographers. The annual salaries ranged from $2,650 to $10,000 (about $29,000 to $110,000 in 2021).
- Our medical center is named for George Herman O’Brien Jr., a Marine Corps officer from Big Spring, Texas. O’Brien received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, for his heroic actions during the Korean War.
- Our Wilson and Young Medal of Honor VA Clinic in Odessa is named for U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Alfred “Mac” Wilson and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Marvin Rex Young. Both were killed in action during the Vietnam War and were awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroism.
Accreditations and achievements
Our facilities and programs have received accreditation from:
The VA West Texas Healthcare System received the following awards:
Annual reports and newsletters