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In Response: VA will meet patients' needs

Carolyn W. Adams, director of the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center, responds to a recent editorial commenting on changes at the center:In response to the editorial opinion published on Sept. 28, I would like to clarify some issues about the changes that will begin to take place at the Salisbury VA.
We are following the VA Model for Care: to provide veterans medical care close to their homes. Our Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network (VISN 6) has 16 community based outpatient clinics, which now provide this access close to veterans’ homes.
As the demand for outpatient and specialty services has risen, the demand for inpatient medicine and surgery services has steadily declined.
The majority of the Salisbury Medical center veterans live in the Winston-Salem and Charlotte metropolitan areas. Veterans with inpatient medical and surgical needs will be provided care in local hospitals under partnership agreements. Care coordinators (case managers) will ensure continuity of the veterans’ care as well as reassuring their satisfaction. There will be no gap in the continuity of care for veterans who have been receiving, or would have received, this level of care at the Salisbury VA. Eligibility for care remains unchanged.
Salisbury services will include enhanced mental health care (inpatient and outpatient), enhanced longterm care (inpatient and outpatient), primary care clinics, outpatient medical and outpatient surgical specialty care, dental, ambulatory surgery, diagnostic imaging and ancillary and support services. We are excited about these enhanced programs, as we will be able to provide additional services to our veterans.
We understand the concern regarding the closing of the emergency room. We will have programs in place to respond to the veterans’ needs prior to closing the emergency room.
We also understand the community’s concern over the recent renovations that have occurred at our Salisbury facility, which opened in 1953. We will continue to use the new surgical suites for ambulatory surgical procedures. Building 21 will be used as transitional space for patient care as we begin to renovate Building 42, our longterm care facility, and Building 4, our mental health inpatient unit. Once the renovations are complete, Building 21 will be used to provide additional services to veterans.
Thank you for this opportunity to address questions and concerns among veterans and others in the community. We value your support, and we thank you for the compassionate attention devoted to our nation’s heroes.

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