07/21/13 — Ribbon cutting planned for VA clinic

View Archive

Ribbon cutting planned for VA clinic

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 21, 2013 1:50 AM

Full Size


Goldsboro's new Veterans Affairs Clinic is located off Wayne Memorial Drive.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of the new Goldsboro VA outpatient clinic is still a few days away, but patients have been treated at the facility since July 1.

"They are knocking on our door every day saying, "Can I enroll?'" said Elizabeth Goolsby, Fayetteville VA Medical Center director. "That is certainly a good sign. We have providers who are seeing patients. So even though we have not had the formal ribbon cutting we are open and taking care of veterans.

"We are here to serve you. We are here to serve you close to home with primary care and mental health services in an environment that is absolutely beautiful."

The ribbon cutting will be held Monday, July 29 at 10 a.m. for the for the 10,000-square-foot Goldsboro community-based outpatient clinic at 2610 Hospital Road. A groundbreaking for the facility was held Oct. 28, 2011.

"We certainly invite the community to come on out and get to know the staff at the clinic and take a look at the beautiful surrounding in the clinic because this is for Goldsboro," Ms. Goolsby said. "This clinic is for the veterans of Goldsboro."

The $1.5 million construction project is the first of the Fayetteville VA Medical Center outpatient clinics built to "Leadership in Energy and Environmental" (LEED) standards. Green building materials conserve energy, a geothermal unit provides heating and air, and water is recycled.

The Goldsboro facility is also the first prototype clinic in the Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Network to be built specifically for the Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) model of health care service.

A PACT consists of a health care provider (doctor, physician assistant or nurse practitioner), registered nurse, licensed practical nurse and a medical service assistant who work together to provide the best possible health care for veterans, Ms. Goolsby said.

The team works closely with patients and their families to ensure trusted, personal relationships are forged to coordinate all aspects of the veteran's health care, she said. When additional services are needed to meet their goals and needs, other care team members will be consulted.

The Fayetteville VA Medical Center is currently collaborating with Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to develop a resource-sharing agreement in the areas of mental health, radiology, physical therapy and anticoagulation (Coumadin) clinics.

The staff members at the clinic will all be civilians, but some have been in active military duty and have a military background or awareness of veterans' needs, Ms. Goolsby said

The PACT approach has been used for some time and each team can provide service for to up to 1,200 patients.

"It is the same people knowing the same veterans and taking care of them all of the time," she said. "What is a little bit different about Goldsboro is that it was built with that kind of approach in mind."

In previous cases, facilities had to be retrofitted for the PACT program, she said.

"We have been working toward our primary care model for some time and it just happened that the next facility we were going to build was Goldsboro. So we're really able in Goldsboro to embody the philosophy of the primary care team from the very beginning and did not have to do retrofitting."

Others clinics are planned for Jacksonville and Sanford.

Putting a clinic in Goldsboro makes sense, and will serve veterans in Wayne, Duplin, Lenoir, Sampson and surrounding counties, Ms. Goolsby said.

"What it means for veterans is health care close to where they live. Many of the veterans who live in that (Wayne County) area travel either to Fayetteville or Durham or Greenville in order to receive their care. We know this is an area that has a large veteran population and we want to be able to provide care for our veterans close to where they live."

The clinic's presence will decrease travel time, while increasing access to health care for veterans, she said.

There will be some specialty care or procedures that still will require them to travel, she said.

"But their primary care and mental health needs can all be taken care of right there in Goldsboro close to home," Mrs. Goolsby said.

Initially two teams that have the capability of treating 1,200 patients each will work at the clinic providing primary care, mental health services, women's health care, laboratory services, telehealth, teleretinal and secure messaging for enrolled veterans.

More teams will be added as the demand increases, Ms. Goolsby said.

She said the VA has already started advertising for the third and fourth teams because slots are expected to fill up quickly.

The clinic has the capacity to expand to five PACTs serving up to 6,000 patients.

Ms. Goolsby said that she hopes veterans will come out and enroll if they have not already done so.