New era of veteran care in Alexandria begins
The first shovels were turned Monday on a project that will provide thousands of veterans from throughout the area with a closer-to-home option of care.
Alexandria's new Veterans Affairs (VA) community based outpatient clinic is expected to open this September at 610 22nd Avenue East, southeast of Nyberg Surveying.
The 9,915-square-foot clinic will be staffed with more than 16 VA staff members. Professional staff will include physicians, an advanced practice nurse, a pharmacist, a psychologist, a social worker, a registered dietitian and several registered nurses.
Monday's ceremony included a presentation of the colors, several speeches and congratulatory remarks, and an official breaking of ground.
The first shovel was turned by Mayor Dan Ness and representatives from the VA, ORB Management (developer for the project), JLG Architects, State Bank and Trust, and Moniclair Commons LLC of Alexandria. The VA agreed to pay Moniclair $297,946 per year to lease the space for 10 years.
Veterans from the area were the next to take up shovels. They represented POWs and veterans who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada and Iraq.
Others participating in the ceremony included Douglas County commissioners and representatives from Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Ambassadors, the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission and the city of Alexandria.
Although he wasn't able to attend the groundbreaking, U.S. Representative Collin Peterson issued the following statement about the facility:
"I'm pleased that the VA has recognized the need to open another outpatient clinic that will make it easier for our rural veterans to access health care," Peterson said. "These clinics have been extremely successful in other communities and will be an asset to Alexandria and the central Minnesota region."
Here are some highlights about the new VA clinic:
Primary care services for veterans in central Minnesota.
Specialty care referrals to the St. Cloud and Minneapolis VA medical centers.
Mental health services available on site, including: telemedicine psychiatry services, individual and group therapy, medication management, psychological assessment and testing, social work services.
Clinical pharmacy services.
Home-based primary care.
Prescription processing by mail, telephone or through the Web portal, www.myhealth.va.gov. Emergent medications can be provided onsite or through a local pharmacy contract.
Tobacco cessation counseling.
The clinic will be fully accessible for people with disabilities.
VET CLINIC NOTES
Planned staffing: physicians (2.5 Full Time Equivalent), RN clinic coordinator (1 FTE), registered nurses (0.6 FTE), registered nurse case manager (1 FTE), licensed practical nurses (3.6 FTE), psychologist (1 FTE), social worker (1 FTE), psychiatric advanced practice nurse (1 FTE), pharmacist (1 FTE), registered dietitian (1 FTE), medical clerks (3 FTE).
Veterans to be served: 3,500 veterans anticipated to enroll.
Counties to be served: Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens, Todd and Wadena. Veterans may receive care at the VA facility of their choice, regardless of their place of residence.
Parking spaces: 43.