Spokane Journal of Business

VA Medical Center plans to build $10 million clinic

Project design to enhance patient-centered approach

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The Mann-Grandstaff Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center is in the design phase of a $10 million primary care clinic to be constructed on the hospital campus in northwest Spokane.

The 25,000-square-foot clinic will be designed to accommodate what the VA refers to as its new patient-aligned care team focus, says Dr. Rob Riddle, Spokane VAMC’s chief of ambulatory services.

Spokane VAMC, located at 4815 N. Assembly, has secured the funding and has selected Spokane-based Blue Room Architecture & Design PS to design the structure.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016. A contractor hasn’t selected for the project yet.

The clinic will be erected between the main hospital and Assembly Street, which runs along the east edge of the campus. The hospital’s fiscal building and business center will be razed to make room for the clinic, and staff in those buildings will be moved to the main hospital building, Riddle says.

Under the PACT concept, Spokane VAMC’s 16 primary care providers each are teamed with two nurses in a system that opens communications between providers, nurses, and patients, enabling the teams to provide more efficient and immediate care to the patient.

“PACT is the VA form of the patient-centered model,” Riddle says.

The VA is implementing the PACT concept at all of its medical centers and clinics.

The design for the new clinic will be modeled after a clinic developed at Group Health Cooperative Puyallup Medical Center, Riddle says. There, Group Health has adopted a patient-centered system, resulting in reduced patient waiting time, increased face-to-face time between the provider and patient, and a higher number total number of patients seen.

“In the old days, the design was provider centric,” he says. “Now it’s built around patient needs and how best to serve them.”

Riddle says the Spokane VAMC plans to add another physician-nurse provider team within a year, and two more when the new clinic comes online.

“We’ve put in to expand up to 19 providers,” he says.

The VA also plans to integrate specialist care, including mental health care, in the PACT model.

“We’re putting mental health providers in our primary care clinics,” he says. “It takes the stigma away from going to a mental health clinic.”

Ideally, patients who have multiple conditions will be able to see all of their providers in one visit, Riddle says.

The clinic will be designed so it can be expanded economically with two additional floors to accommodate anticipated growth in demand for VA primary care services.

“Up to 50 percent of veterans coming out of the service are applying for some type of disability,” he says. “We see a big influx of vets projected in the future.”

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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