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New VA medical center near Butler expected to drive surge in patients

Updated 12 hours in the past

Built as a tuberculosis sanitarium however by no means opened as such, the Butler veterans hospital was not designed for its present use.

It was constructed as a 500-bed inpatient facility and laid out as such, Butler VA Health Care spokesman Ken Kalberer stated.

But a brand new health care center opening Tuesday was designed and constructed to match the hospital’s emphasis on outpatient care.

The Abie Abraham Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Center was constructed on 46 acres of farmland on North Duffy Road in Center Township, about 2 miles from the prevailing facility.

It is known as for Abraham, a World War II veteran who was a prisoner of struggle and a survivor of the Bataan Death March. He volunteered on the Butler VA for 23 years earlier than he died in 2012.

The VA is leasing the two-story, 168,000-square-foot constructing for 20 years from Cambridge Healthcare Solutions of Virginia.

Planning for the center began about 10 years in the past, and development began in late 2015, Kalberer stated.

The VA awarded the lease to Cambridge after canceling a lease with Westar Development to construct the clinic subsequent to the VA campus at Deshon Woods.

The new facility presents providers for main care, speciality care, psychological health, dental, diagnostic, laboratory, pathology, radiology, podiatry, optometry, pharmacy, bodily rehabilitation and women’s health.

Everything in the previous constructing is in the brand new one, Kalberer stated. New options embrace an aquatherapy pool and bone density scanners.

It will make use of about 450 individuals.

Kalberer stated the center is primarily meant to serve veterans in its service space, which incorporates Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Lawrence and Mercer counties.

But Kalberer stated veterans from outdoors these counties, together with Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, can use it if they want.

“If they want to drive up here and use the facility as opposed to Pittsburgh, it’s the veteran’s choice,” he stated.

In its final fiscal yr, Kalberer stated the Butler VA had greater than 25,000 enrolled veterans with greater than 250,000 visits. They’re anticipating to improve to greater than 30,000 enrolled, with upward of 350,000 visits, in the brand new center’s first yr.

Rob Hamilton, director of operations for Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard, stated veterans will journey for the providers they want.

He stated veterans who do not like touring into the town might go to Butler for simpler entry.

“I imagine those in the A-K Valley would utilize the Butler outpatient facility more than they would prefer to drive down to Oakland, especially the older population who would be using those services a lot more,” he stated.

Kalberer stated the Butler VA has been rising at about 12 % annually. Why that is occurring is a “good question,” he stated.

“Veterans recognize we provide great care here. I hear that all the time,” he stated.

“We’re very excited. We’re starting a whole new chapter in our history,” he stated. “We’re confident, come Tuesday morning, we’ll be ready to go.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review employees author. Reach him at 724-226-4701, or by way of Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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