BY MELANIE WADE –
The construction of the new Veteran’s CBOC clinic in Mena is expected to wrap up this week with the Veteran’s Administration conducting a walk through for approval of the new 10,000 sq. ft. facility.
The Veterans Administration said the transition of moving patients from their current facility on Highway 71 north to the new facility on South Morrow Street will be a slow one that will not interrupt patient care. The VA expects to be fully transitioned by the end of September. Chris Durney, Public Affairs Specialist for the Central Arkansas Veterans Health System, said, “There will be a little bit of an overlap in the transition. We have a good contract that we will honor at the current facility. We don’t want to close a door one day and open a different door the next day. No patient care will be compromised.”
Between now and their official opening, they will furnish the building, install equipment and software systems, have personnel fully hired and trained, and make sure all systems run properly.
A grand opening for the facility will be announced at a later date, but they hope to have it in early to mid-September. “We are excited about it,” said Durney. “We are looking forward to opening, I think it’s going to be a wonderful facility.”
Durney said they are still looking for qualified staff to fill the facility that will include 10 exam rooms and a women’s health and procedure room. For those interested, visit USA Jobs online and search Arkansas for a list of positions available.
Mark Wilson, Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) Coordinator, said they plan to maintain all the services offered at the current clinic, with a goal to expand all CBOCs to include physical therapy services.
Although the new center will not include dental services, CAVHS staffers explained at a recent town hall meeting that they are “focusing on provider agreements to get local dentists to partner with CAVHS” to keep veterans from having to travel to North Little Rock for dental care.
The decision to move was made, in part, to implement more services and the PACT (Patient Aligned Care Team) model, in which each veteran has a team that provides primary care services, and helps coordinate services for specialty care when needed.
The implementation of PACT is hoped to make a large impact on how veterans receive care. According to their website, PACT is “the cornerstone of the New Models of Care initiative that is intended to transform the way Veterans receive care. PACT assists VHA in transforming Veterans’ care by providing patient-driven, proactive, personalized, team-based care focused on wellness and disease prevention. This results in improvements in Veteran satisfaction, improved healthcare outcomes, and costs. The PACT model is built on the well-known concept of the patient-centered medical home staffed by high-functioning teams.” They also plan to implement more telemedicine methods at the new facility as well.