New Cedar Rapids VA clinic to open next summer

CEDAR RAPIDS — The shift in Westdale Town Center’s economic vision has offered the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System an opportunity to expand its footprint in Cedar Rapids.

Late last year, the veterans health organization announced its Cedar Rapids-based outpatient clinic will move from 2230 Wiley Blvd. SW to leased space on the top floor of the former Von Maur department store.

The new space, at 3500 Dalton Way SW in Westdale Town Center, is 30,000 square feet — about three times the size of the current 9,976-square-foot clinic that opened in 1997.

WHAT’S HAPPENED SINCE

About 30 percent of the design work has been completed, and the clinic is moving toward to an early summer 2020 open date, said Jessica Beswick, assistant chief engineer on the project.

“At this early stage of design, we’re not able to release what our working layouts look like, but the layout will be very similar to what we just opened in our new Davenport clinic, although without audiology and on a smaller scale than Davenport,” Beswick said in an email to The Gazette.

Beswick said the clinic is designed according to the PACT model, or Patient-Aligned Care Team, which was implemented by the Veterans Health Administration in the agency’s clinics in 2010.

Under this model, a patient’s primary doctor huddles once a week with other medical staff involved with the patient’s care to better coordinate services, said Michele Carter, nurse manager at the Cedar Rapids clinic.

The additional space will allow the clinic to hire more staff and offer more services, although some of those details still are being finalized, said Gene Peterson, program specialist for the Cedar Rapids clinic.

The new clinic will include expanded space for primary care appointments as well as expanded physical therapy and mental health services. New offerings will include radiology, home-based primary care, podiatry and telehealth.

Peterson said Veterans Affairs officials are “cognizant” of changes in the patient population. Demand for mental health services has grown in recent years. There also are more female military veterans than ever before, resulting in a higher demand for women’s health services.

“We are seeing that change now,” Peterson said.

He said services offered in the new clinic will be specific to the 5,000 veterans living in the Cedar Rapids area.

“Every community clinic will have unique considerations,” he said. “We’re close to Iowa City, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to have an optometry clinic. But Decorah does have that capability. It all depends on where (a) clinic is located and specific needs of the clinic’s patients.”

Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

Original article from The Gazette can be found here.