Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

VA Medical Center Boasts of Patient-Centered Care, New Programs in Tuscaloosa

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

VA Medical Center Boasts of Patient-Centered Care, New Programs in Tuscaloosa

Article excerpt

The Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tuscaloosa serves approximately 20,000 veterans annually from 14 counties in the area.

There are 25 buildings situated on the 125-acre campus on Loop Road, where veterans receive primary care, long-term health care and mental health services. Veterans also receive geriatric care, physical rehabilitation and use the pharmacy, lab and radiology facilities there.

Spokesman Damon Stevenson said the Tuscaloosa VA has been at the forefront of implementing programs that fulfill the national department's mission, such as caring for homeless vets and providing care in a home-like setting.

"At Tuscaloosa VA, we have implemented true patient-centered care, which involves caring for the whole person, not just the mental and physical needs of the individual," Stevenson said. "In conjunction with a patient-centered approach, we have worked hard to move away from the typical institutional feel of a hospital and made the facilities feel as home-like as possible. With the one 10,000- square-foot cottage we've built and more that are planned, we took it one step further and actually created a home for those residents."

The center has completed several construction projects and expanded many services during the last decade.

In 2006, the VA opened the "Transition Center," an integrated health care clinic designed to meet the specific needs of new veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, a clinic that was one of the first of its kind. A community-based clinic in Selma opened in 2009.

The center recently began a mobile health clinic that travels one day per week to the cities of Demopolis, Livingston, Fayette and Hamilton to serve rural veterans.

The center also created extended-hours clinics to offer evening appointments once a week and morning appointments on Saturdays for veterans who find it difficult to make an appointment during normal business hours.

Staff members also run extended-hours clinics that offer evening appointments once a week and morning appointments on Saturdays for veterans unable to make appointments during regular business hours.

The VA has also focused its care of senior citizens, and recently renovated existing "community living centers" that were formerly called nursing homes. …

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