VA is expanding with 'state of the art' facilities in these two states

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The Department of Veterans Affairs is planning to expand to new hospitals and clinics in Florida and Massachusetts. 

The VA last week announced that it had awarded three leases for outpatient clinics in Gainesville and Ocala, Fla. 

The two clinics in Gainesville will include a 70,849-square-foot primary care clinic and another 39,932-square-foot mental health clinic.

"This will allow VA to enhance and expand services into state-of-the-art, energy-efficient health care buildings," VA's news release reads.  

The Gainesville mental health clinic is the consolidation of three existing mental health facilities in the area, VA said and it will be used as for "mental health intensive case management, psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery center, suicide prevention, mental health screenings, local recovery coordination and programs related to eliminating veteran homelessness."

The new Gainesville clinics are expected to serve about 43,671 veterans, said Thomas Wisnieski, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System director. 

The Ocala clinic is a 45,499-square-foot facility with 350 parking spaces and will consolidate the Ocala Community Based Outpatient Clinic and the Ocala West Specialty Clinics at one location. 

 The new Ocala clinic will include office space for the home-based primary care team, space for telemedicine clinics to provide additional care and more room for patient care and laboratory work. 

The three new facilities are expected to be completed and open in 2022. 

“Our efforts to modernize VA facilities for veterans is a priority for our organization. It is our job to do what is in the best interest of our veteran patients by improving our facilities to meet their need,” Wisnieski said in a statement.

In a YouTube video on Sunday, Ryan Lilly, network director of VA's New England Healthcare System, announced that the department would soon break ground on a new VA clinic in Worcester, Mass., on the University of Massachusetts Medical School campus aiming to open in fall 2021. 

The 53,000-square-foot "state-of-the-art facility" intends to support a growing veteran population in central Massachusetts, Lilly said. The clinic will include primary and specialty care. At town halls and forums, Massachusetts veterans asked for a new clinic "and we have listened," Lilly said. 

"The new Worcester clinic is a critical step in improving the delivery of care to veterans in New England," he said. 

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Reach Abbie Bennett: or @AbbieRBennett.