Spokane Journal of Business

VA clinic in Cd'A to expand at new medical building

Outpatient facility will add physical therapy, optometry to services

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Parkwood Business Properties, of Coeur d'Alene, is developing a $1.8 million medical office building, where Spokane-based Mann-Grandstaff Veterans Affairs Medical Center plans to move its Coeur d'Alene Community-based Outpatient Clinic, Spokane VAMC sources say.

The 16,200-square-foot building under construction at 915 W. Emma will have space to accommodate double the medical personnel based at the current Coeur d'Alene clinic, which has outgrown its space at 2177 N. Ironwood Center Drive, they say.

The clinic, currently located a couple of blocks northwest of the Kootenai Health hospital campus in north Coeur d'Alene, had been looking for more than two years to move to larger quarters, says Bret Bowers, Spokane VAMC spokesman.

"We couldn't find the exact space we wanted, so we're building from the ground up," Bowers says, adding, "The current community-based outpatient clinic will remain open until we move into the new one."

The project, located a few blocks southwest of the Kootenai Health campus, is expected to be completed in April 2014.

Dr. Rob Riddle, Spokane VAMC chief of ambulatory services, says Parkwood Business Properties, a prominent developer of commercial real estate in Kootenai County, will own the property, and the Coeur d'Alene clinic will occupy it under a long-term lease.

"It's being built specifically for our clinic to be in there," Riddle says. "We're going to be the only ones in the building."

Williamson-Johnson Co., of Coeur d'Alene, is the contractor on the project, and Wolfe Architectural Group PS, of Spokane, designed it.

Riddle says four providers and a support staff of nearly 20 employees currently work at the Coeur d'Alene clinic.

"The staff will grow when the new clinic opens," Riddle says. "Potentially, within a short period of time after moving the clinic, staff will increase by 50 percent, and shortly thereafter by 100 percent."

The new clinic will have physical therapy and optometry services not currently provided at the Coeur d'Alene clinic, he says.

"We're adding services," Riddle says. "When we do that we bring staff along."

The clinic will have at least 14 exam rooms and space to accommodate seven providers, visiting consultants, and intermittent specialty-care providers, he says.

"We'll also have residents coming in there for training in pharmacy, family practice, and primary care," Riddle says. "We'll also start using the clinic as a launching point for a home-based, primary-care registered nurse who will be stationed there."

The clinic in Coeur d'Alene, which provides general-medicine outpatient treatments, has been expanding its mental health and telemedicine services. It also provides audiology, pharmacy, and limited lab services.

Bowers says, "The demand for services continues to grow, and we love being part of the Coeur d'Alene community, close to veterans who live in North Idaho and want our services there."

The Coeur d'Alene Community-based Outpatient Clinic serves about 4,000 veterans, which is only about a sixth of the number of veterans who live in North Idaho.

"We know we have 25,000 veterans in the five northern counties who we could serve," Bowers says. "We're trying to build infrastructure to provide services for those vets who choose us for their health care."

Spokane VAMC also operates a community-based outreach clinic in Wenatchee, and has five rural clinics serving veterans in Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and northwest Montana.

Spokane VAMC personnel staff the community-based outreach clinics, and contracted providers staff the rural clinics.
 

Mike McLean
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Deputy Editor Mike McLean has worked his entire journalism career in the Inland Northwest. Mike, who also lives to reel in fish and crank up music, has worked for the Journal since 2006.

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