October 13, 2008

Veterans Administration to Open New Clinic in West Valley City

By Johnson, Frances

In an effort to bring primary care medical services closer to patients, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, located on Foothill Boulevard in Salt Lake City, will open a new 18,000 square foot clinic at 2750 S. 5600 W. in West Valley City.

The project includes a renovation of and addition to an existing Department of Workforce Services (DWS) building, said Ken Kelter, one of the owners of the project, which is being developed by KL Investments of West Valley City. DWS will occupy 13,000 square feet in the building, while the 18,000 square foot clinic will occupy the entire front end of the structure.

The new clinic is part of a realignment of the medical center, as well as the services traditionally offered there, said Scott Hill, assistant to the director.

"That's so the veterans will have easier access to what we call primary care," he said. Primary care includes check-ups, preventative care such as flu shots, as well as on-site consultative mental health services. "There's a move in the VA to put services closer to the veterans. When we looked at zip codes and where folks were coming from, this was a good, central location."

The clinic, which is scheduled to open in January, will have 30 exam rooms, a staff of between 40 and 45 people and is expected to serve approximately 9,000 patients, Hill said. Also as a result of the new clinic, specialty care services at the main VA location, such as cardiology, will be expanded.

According to Kelter, there is also room for the West Valley City clinic to eventually expand onto an adjacent property, also owned by KL Investments, which includes an existing building and plat site.

"We've taken a sort of 'Field of Dreams' approach to this," Hill said. "If you build it, they will come. We expect that that space will grow over time."

Analysis is also under way to identify other places around the state where additional VA clinics might be necessary.

In addition to physical locations, the VA is exploring options for tele-medicine, whereby a veteran in a rural area, accompanied by a nurse and connected to monitors and other apparatus, sit in front a monitor and ,converse with a physician stationed elsewhere.

"We see this tele-medicine as a way to provide better service to people who are in remote locations," Hill said.

In the meantime, the West Valley City clinic will be the largest in the VA's Salt Lake City network.

"We're really looking forward to opening the doors and serving the veterans closer to where they live," Hill said.

Contractor on the project is R&O Construction of Ogden. The architect is PGA&W Architects of Salt Lake City.

Copyright Enterprise Business Newspaper Inc. Sep 15, 2008

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