In response to the growing health care needs of Veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs is opening a new Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Las Vegas, with the dedication ceremony scheduled for today.
"This is, importantly, a promise kept with the 164,000 Veterans who live in Clark, Nye, and Lincoln counties, and all 234,000 Veterans who call Nevada home, as well as Veterans from surrounding states who will find here the care and compassion they seek," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, who provided keynote remarks at the dedication ceremony. "As President Obama recently told the Veterans of Foreign Wars: "We keep our promises.'"
"The Las Vegas VAMC underscores VA's commitment to provide the best care anywhere to America's Veterans, particularly in the critical area of mental health," said Dr. Robert Petzel, VA's Under Secretary for Health. "The opening of this world-class facility is another milestone, and ensures VA provides the care and services our Veterans have earned through their service."
The brand-new $600 million facility will have 90 inpatient beds, a 120-bed community living center (skilled nursing home care facility), and an ambulatory care center. The 90 inpatient beds include a state-of-the-art 22-bed mental health unit, 48 medical/surgical beds, and 20 intensive care unit beds.
As early as this month, the outpatient mental health clinic will be operational. The clinic will provide specialized treatment programs for general mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, gambling addiction, and other unique services such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for the treatment of traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and other conditions. The mental health section has ample patient parking and is located next to the main facility. The inpatient unit is directly above the outpatient mental health clinic, and is in close proximity to the main facility.
Beyond the mental health services, the new VAMC will provide 23 dental exam chairs; 13 surgical, 14 radiology, and 6 audiometric sound suites; as well as a 268 seat food court. A phased opening is planned for August through December 2012.
The Las Vegas VAMC will possess a telehealth unit, with bidirectional just-in-time communication capability with its outlying clinics. This allows doctors to deliver specialized mental health and other services to these clinics. The VAMC and its outlying clinics are also equipped with "smart boards," to enhance continuing education for staff and patients.
VA operates the nation's largest integrated health care system. With a health care budget of more than $50 billion, VA expects to provide care to 6.1 million patients during 920,000 hospitalizations and nearly 80 million outpatient visits this year. VA's health care network includes 152 major medical centers and more than 800 community-based outpatient clinics.
The new facility meets the latest environmental standards. Portions of the parking areas will have overhead solar panels to provide additional energy to the campus.