NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The first Veterans Affairs Medical Center ever built in southern Nevada and the first built in the United States in 17 years was dedicated by VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki with more than 700 people in attendance here, Aug. 6.
The new $600 million facility includes 90 inpatient beds, a 120-bed community living center or, “skilled nursing home care facility” and an ambulatory care center. It has been dubbed by Shinseki as the “crown jewel” of the nation’s VA health care facilities.
The 1 million square foot medical center sits on a 151 acre campus built on land donated by the Bureau of Land Management. The hospital took six years to complete and will provide a “one stop shop” for veterans whose health care needs cross the continuum of services that include specialty care, surgery, mental health, rehabilitation, geriatrics and extended care.
John Bright, VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System director joined the VA team in 2001 and saw veterans needs rise as about 2,000 veterans had to travel to VA centers in southern California for care.
Officials anticipate a rolling start to bring the medical center into full operation by January 2013 with the first patients expected when doors open Aug. 14 for the eye clinic, the infectious diseases facility and the pharmacy. The main laboratory will open in the beginning of September with specialty care facilities opening by the end of September.
The VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System serves about 46,000 veterans.
Bright anticipates his staff will serve about 60,000 veterans out of some 400,000 who live in Nevada.