VA approves funds for Fallon clinic

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced a plan Tuesday to fund a community-based outpatient clinic in Fallon.

The VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System based in Reno received official notice of the approval to expand service in Nevada from the VA in Washington, D.C., said Lisa Howard, public information officer for the VA Medical Center in Reno.

The clinic is expected to serve veterans in the following six rural counties: Churchill, Eureka, Lander, Lyon, Mineral and Pershing.

There are more than 11,000 veterans living in these counties that will benefit from the new clinic, according to a press release.

"The VA has established itself as one of the top health-care organizations in the country," said James Nicholson, secretary of Veterans Affairs in a press release. "By putting health-care facilities in more communities, we're enhancing veterans' access to world-class health care."

The new clinic will provide scheduled appointments for non-emergent primary care and mental health needs, Monday through Friday, during normal business hours. Other services will be determined at a later date, Howard said.

Serious medical-related conditions and treatments will be handled in Reno, she said.

"Patients will be able to transfer from Reno to the new clinic without hassle. They will be contacted prior to the grand opening of the new facility by the Reno VA," she said. "There is no need for patients to contact us, we will take care of them during the transition."

The VA will lease medical space for the and new clinic will begin the process of securing a location in the next few weeks.

"The VA is required to follow applicable federal law with a proposal process to secure a location," Howard said. "We estimate opening the clinic in the fall of 2007."

The new facility in Fallon is one of 25 new community-based clinics in 17 states and American Samoa, said Nicholson.

"Community-based medicine enhances preventative care, allows for closer doctor-patient relationships and makes it easier for follow-up for people with chronic problems," said Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, VA's undersecretary for health.

The VA will finalize the staffing requirements closer to the opening and anticipates job recruitment for support staff and possibly for medical staff as well, said Howard.

In Nevada, there are 245,000 veterans and two major medical centers located in Reno and Las Vegas. Along with the major medical facilities, Nevada has five outpatient clinics, two vet centers and one nursing home.

The VA's supporting budget for 2005 in Nevada was more than $686 million, according to a press release.


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