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April 16, 2014

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Nation’s newest VA hospital on track for August opening in North Las Vegas

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Sam Morris

The new Veterans Affairs Medical Center in North Las Vegas is seen Feb. 21, 2012.

VA Medical Center

The new Veterans Affairs Medical Center in North Las Vegas is inching closer to providing assistance to the 45,000 veterans who now get their medical services at VA institutions spread throughout the valley.

The $600 million, 1.3 million-square-foot complex being built at 6900 N. Pecos Road is scheduled to open in August. When it does, it will be the first VA hospital in Southern Nevada. It also is the first VA hospital to be built in the United States since the end of the Gulf War.

Steve Stern, VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System spokesman and capital asset manager, said that when the medical center is fully operational, it will house 210 beds for surgeries, mental health and extended-care patients, and in its intensive care unit.

The medical center will employ 1,800 to 2,000 people and become a focal point in the valley for the VA, which has been disjointed for some time, Stern said.

“The veterans have waited a long time for this,” he said. “Our patients are already established; they are just being treated in about 20 locations versus trying to get everything into one location.”

Though those 20 locations serve about 45,000 veterans, there are more than 200,000 veterans in Nevada, according to the VA.

The state-of-the-art facility will feature advanced electronics systems, computerized patient records, and automated digital media systems that can broadcast medical information into waiting rooms and classrooms, Stern said. Similar VA hospitals are currently under construction in New Orleans, Denver and Orlando, Fla.

“A lot of the focus is the patient center care, the educational opportunities, the research capabilities, and some very incredible diagnostic and treatment capabilities,” Stern said. “We’re able to deal with a much broader scope of disabilities and injuries.”

Another innovative feature will be advanced operating rooms with hybrid CT scanning equipment, which will allow surgeons performing operations to see the vessels they are repairing in real time.

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The new Veterans Affairs Medical Center in North Las Vegas is seen Feb. 21, 2012.

Along with sophisticated technology, the hospital will have improved security measures. As the first VA hospital built after the Oklahoma City bombing, Hurricane Katrina and Sept. 11, Stern said security was an important part of its construction.

No cars can park closer than 50 feet from the building. The complex also has the capability to remain fully operational in the event of a loss of public utilities with six large generators able to provide full emergency power, 1 million gallons of reserve water supplies and wastewater storage capacity for up to four days.

North Las Vegas and VA officials hope one day the complex will be surrounded by medical-related businesses and, possibly, a north campus for UNLV. Although the university is still examining the possible use of the 2,009-acre parcel of federal land across from the hospital, there is little chance it will build a campus anytime soon, said Terri Sheridan, North Las Vegas economic development administrator.

City officials, though, still believe that in the long run the area will become a major center of activity for economically hard-hit North Las Vegas.

“It’s going to play a pivotal role for our city to look for other insular medical uses,” Sheridan said. “A medical cluster is part of our strategic plan for the city. The focus is there.”

As part of the VA’s initiative to better serve veterans and improve access to doctors in Southern Nevada, four new primary care clinics, situated in each quadrant of the city, also have been built. Clinics are operating in the southeast, southwest and northwest valley, with a northeast clinic at 4461 East Charleston Blvd. opening this week.

The clinics offer patient care, pharmacies, X-rays, labs, social workers and some mental health attention. Stern said a clinic is located within 10 minutes of every veteran in the valley.

VA spokesman Dave Martinez said the clinics, as well as the new hospital, aid the valley’s 2,221 homeless and 21,730 veterans who suffer from mental health diseases like depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

“We’re really trying to adapt the way we practice medicine to what the patient needs,” said Stern. “A lot of the VA’s mission is to bring a veteran to their highest level of ability, whatever their injury, whatever their disability.”

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  1. May this new VA Hospital provide the very best of care for our service men and women. May each individual who needs such services come, unhindered, and receive speedy and complete healing for their body, mind, soul, and spirit.

    Thank you for serving our great country, the United States of America!

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  2. Forget the hospital, what about the new clinics? They built them without any thought as to how far some Vets now have to go to get to them. Most clinics were easy and affordable to get to. Some people now how to travel more than 20 miles to their assigned clinic and if you use public transportation, a one way trip can take hours. I hear they moved the clinic from Sunrise Hospital to the south end of Henderson, that is not exactly convenient for Vets who live central.Oops, sorry, we are talking about Government decisions, silly me !! But I agree with you, I hope the new hospital is not staffed with the surly foreigners the VA prefers to hire, I know several who hate the U.S., but they got a VA job and love their Federal paycheck & benefits, they all look forward to a big fat pension and they they'll return to Manila.

  3. We opened up a new Veteran Administration (VA) Hospital the first VA hospital to be built in our nation in 17 years. Located in North Las Vegas, Nevada on North 215 freeway and Pecos Avenue.

    Today we pledged allegiance, sang our national anthem, and watch the colors of our flag being presented by the Marine Corps League, the American Legion, and Nellis Air Force Color Guard.

    Today we saw elected officials from Republican Party US Senator Dean Heller and the Democratic Party US Senator Harry Reid and Congresswoman Shelley Berkley on one stage delivering their speeches. We also saw elected officials sitting in the audience with veterans, the media, and our community.
    ...

    We were one Americans proud to celebrate the men and women that fought for our country.

    Why can't we come together as Americans all the time to serve American citizens? I bet you if we came together as much as we fight over whose party is better for the American people. We could accomplish a lot for the people we swore to protect and serve...

    Steve Sanson President Veterans In Politics International
    www.veteransinpolitics.org