The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will officially open an outpatient clinic to serve veterans in the Chico area on Aug. 27, leaving a building about 5 miles away that is about half the size of the new facility.
“This clinic is a significant step forward in providing high-quality, compassionate care to the veterans of Butte, Glenn and Tehama counties,” said Ryan Schiel, the site manager for the Chico VA outpatient clinic. “We’re not only doubling our space, but adding critical staff and services, as well.”
The new clinic will have a staff of 150 people, an increase of 50 workers, according to VA spokesperson Will Martin, who noted that two of the new physicians at the facility lost their homes in the Camp Fire that killed 85 people and destroyed 19,000 buildings. The Chico VA personnel serve roughly 9,000 veterans in the north state.
The VA plans a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Aug. 21 to celebrate the new facility, which has energy-reducing and cost-saving features that earned it a silver rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
The new clinic at 1601 Concord Ave., which occupies 42,000 square feet, will offer services that veterans in the Chico area now travel to Redding or Sacramento to get, Martin said. In eye care, he said, the Chico VA will now have professionals in optometry and ophthalmology, as well as an on-site eyeglass vendor.
The VA is expanding the number of dental services available and adding physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation, chiropractic and prosthetics, Martin said.
The facility will feature isolation rooms where patients with contagious disease will have independent air systems, Martin said, and Schiel and his team also have ensured that patients and their VA medical team can consult with specialists via telehealth channels.
Martin said the Chico VA will continue to offer veterans access to current health services such as primary care; women’s health; medications; radiology; social work; dermatology; audiology and hearing aid fittings; behavioral health counseling for PTSD, substance abuse or other conditions; ear, nose and throat specialists; home-based primary care; homeless support; laboratory services; nutrition consultations; outpatient sleep services; home telehealth; and wound care.
Veterans also will be able to continue getting assistance with issues such as compensation, pension, eligibility and enrollment, Martin said.
The Hamstra Group of Wheatfield, Indiana, owns the property that will be the future home of the Chico VA, signing a 15-year lease with the government agency. Construction began in the summer of 2017, Martin said. He said he did not know what would happen to the 280 Cohasset Road property where the VA is currently based.