Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston

By: Diana J. Kleiner

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: July 21, 2017

The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston is one of the largest general medical and surgical hospitals in the Department of Veterans Affairs system. Covering 118 acres six miles south of downtown Houston, it is part of the Texas Medical Center complex, which includes Baylor College of Medicine, components of the University of Texas, and forty-one other hospitals and clinics. Constructed for the United States Navy in 1946, the center operated as a rehabilitative facility until April 15, 1949, when the Veterans Administration assumed its 478-bed operation. That year the center was designated a teaching hospital, became affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine, reorganized its staff, and brought in additional doctors, doctors-in-training, and residents. Twenty-two residents participated in its first training and educational program, and 6,000 veterans received treatment in the hospital's first year. A blood bank opened in 1952, followed by a body-tissue bank. Operating bed capacity increased to 1,110 by 1953, and a six-story building housing laboratories, treatment programs, and surgical functions opened in 1956. A research building was dedicated in 1978, the Beaumont Outpatient Clinic opened in 1977, and the Lufkin Outpatient Clinic, serving veterans from Texas and Louisiana, opened in 1991. The Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center activated a new $225 million replacement facility in June 1991. The 1,037 bed tertiary-care facility provides acute inpatient and outpatient care and is a referral center for open-heart surgery, super-voltage therapy, spinal-cord injury, Alzheimer's disease, lithortripsy procedure, laser surgery, and intraocular-lens implantation.

  • Health and Medicine
  • Veterans' Hospitals, Military Hospitals, and Centers
Time Periods:
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Diana J. Kleiner, “Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

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July 21, 2017

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