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New VA care center showcases the agency’s P3 approach to financing healthcare facilities

Clinic programming enhances patient privacy.

August 13, 2020 |

The Department of Veterans Affairs' new care center, in Omaha, Neb., offers eight primary clinics. Images: Courtesy of Leo A Daly

The 160,000-sf, three-story VA Ambulatory Care Center opened in Omaha, Neb., on August 3. This is the first of five pilot projects authorized to be built under the Communities Helping Invest through Property and Improvements Needed for Veterans Act, otherwise known as CHIP IN, which became law in 2016 and allows the cash-strapped U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to use private investments to fund construction and real estate purchases.

The Omaha facility’s $86 million price tag was defrayed by $30 million in private contributions funneled through the nonprofit Heritage Services, the project’s construction manager, which donated its services and the building to the VA. This funding mechanism created efficiencies that shortened construction time and aligned design specifications with those used in private healthcare projects.

Also see: Outpatient clinics bring the VA closer to injured veterans

The new center has the capacity to provide healthcare services to about 400 patients per day.

LEO A DALY provided the architectural, engineering, and interior design services on this project, for which McCarthy Building Companies was the GC. The Ambulatory Care Center has eight primary care clinics, including one for women vets (a first in VA’s healthcare network), and a care clinic that’s shared by orthopedics, cardiology, and other specialty medical practices.

A WALL DESIGNED TO RESEMBLE A WAVING FLAG

Alternating colors along the building's western facade symbolize the colored bars earned by miltary servicemen and women.

 

All clinics employ Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) programming to enhance patient privacy and navigation. By centralizing clinical staff and resources, the PACT model also promotes collaboration. A new outpatient surgery center occupies the third floor, along with radiology. On the first level, a new connector building provides direct indoor access to the existing hospital and its services.

Sophisticated structural and architectural coordination created the folded glass form of the building’s “flag wall.” Against the western façade, alternating colors symbolize the “colored bars” earned by military servicemen and women for acts of gallantry and heroism. Both walls use transparent glazing to stream abundant daylighting into the interior spaces.

Also see: Veterans’ mental health needs are central to Seattle’s VA design

A sense of refuge, comfort, and reflection are reinforced by amenities that include an outdoor healing garden and commissioned artwork (some of it created by veteran-artists) installed in the facility’s public spaces.

The new Ambulatory Care Center replaces a crumbling hospital built in the 1940s and had long been on the VA’s list of replacement priorities.

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