New VA clinic to offer more services
Feb 5, 2019
SHELLEY HANSON Times Leader Staff Writer
CLAIRSVILLE — Another doctor and more support staff are expected to be hired to work inside the new Belmont County VA Outpatient Clinic set to open inside the Ohio Valley Mall this spring.
The clinic is expected to open in a space inside the mall in April, said Sheila Tunney, public affairs specialist with Veterans Administration Pittsburgh Healthcare System. A grand opening and open house are being planned for April 12.
Mall officials announced last week the clinic would reopen in a 16,000-square-foot store space located across from Ulta Beauty. Tunney said the Belmont County clinic, which currently is situated on Plaza Drive in St. Clairsville, was established 20 years ago. Last year, more than 5,000 veterans used the clinic.
The health care professionals are part of Valor Healthcare, a company that has been providing care to veterans since 2004.
“We reviewed multiple spaces from numerous companies bidding on the contract.
“The mall space was proposed by Valor Healthcare, who our evaluation team determined had the best proposal,” she said.
Tunney said the contract process, which included request for proposals, evaluation of those proposals and the eventual award to Valor, took about a year.
“The process is in line with Federal Acquisition Regulations. … The evaluation team of clinical and administrative staff (people with expertise in outpatient care), guided by contracting staff, determined it was the best fit because it met the needs of the government. It provided enough space for current needs, offers expansion space for future development, is accessible via public transportation, and is close to amenities,” she said of the mall space.
Tunney said the clinic currently has four primary care doctors who are “nearing their capacity,” which is why another physician will be hired.
She added that the VA does not know the rent amount because the agreement is between Valor and the mall.
“VA pays Valor based on an agreed upon per-patient, per-month capitation rate,” she said.
Nurse Practitioner Lisa Kazmirski said she and other clinic workers are “really excited” about plans for the new clinic.
“We’re going to be able to see so many more veterans,” she said, adding the new clinic will include a new audiology service, a pharmacist on site and a coagulation clinic.
“And it’s on the bus route and will give access to veterans who don’t drive,” Kazmirski added.
Belmont County’s VA clinic is part of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, which is comprised of University Drive and H.J. Heinz III medical centers in Pittsburgh and four other clinics in Beaver, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties in Pennsylvania.
Veterans who are not sure about eligibility or enrollment status can call 412-822-2040. The Pittsburgh VA has more than 3,700 employees and serves about 70,000 veterans each year.