VA cuts ribbon at $ 14 million in emergency care and mental health clinic

December 29 – Officials cut the ribbon on Tuesday from a $ 14 million outpatient mental health and emergency care clinic connected to Manchester VA Medical Center.

The two-story building, located north of the main entrance, is slated to open next month. It’s been under construction for about two years, said Kevin Forrest, director of the VA Medical Center.

Officials hope the new facility will attract more veterans for treatment at the Manchester facility. The 10 treatment bays are equipped with negative pressure to minimize the spread of airborne disease – a revision made to plans at the request of local medical staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the rooms contains medical equipment for the gynecological departments. And it includes a safe room for any veteran with a mental health crisis.

The second floor includes an outpatient mental health clinic.

Forrest said staff also urged planners to review the location of the building so that it is closer to the medical centre’s radiology department.

About 70 people have logged in to see Tuesday’s virtual ceremony. Forrest and three members of the New Hampshire congressional delegation made remarks.

US Senator Maggie Hassan made a videotaped statement.

She said the expansion would help the VA treat “invisible wounds” that can come from military service.

“When they take off their uniform, we have an obligation to be there for them as they were for us,” Hassan said.

Ryan Lilly, director of the VA health care system in New England, said the pandemic has highlighted space issues at VA facilities, and similar expansions are underway across New England .

U.S. Representative Chris Pappas, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, has said he’s fighting for bigger investments in VA health care.

“We have very old fashioned and outdated facilities that need attention and investment,” Pappas said.

Eckman Construction of Bedford was the general contractor for the project.

The emergency care center will be open during regular VA hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. seven days a week, excluding holidays. Forrest said no additional parking space has been created to accommodate the clinic.

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