By Jonathan Friedman, VA Palo Alto Health Care SystemNovember 26, 2013
MARINA, Calif. -- Ground was broken Nov. 11 for what will be California's first integrated Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense joint health-care clinic in Marina.
"This clinic will do much more than provide the expanded space we need to deliver more-and-more efficient services; we are also strengthening our bond with our DOD partners," said Lisa Freeman, VA Palo Alto Health Care System director.
Built at the location of the former Fort Ord, the new 146,000 square-foot VA/DOD Monterey Bay Health Care Clinic will serve military members, their families and veterans. With 10 facilities throughout northern California, the VA Palo Alto Health Care System will consolidate their Monterey operations once the facility opens in 2016.
Since Fort Ord's deactivation in 1994, the Presidio of Monterey has had limited medical facilities to treat its beneficiaries. Today, most active-duty family members and retirees are served by a TRICARE managed care support contract. Currently, both the VA and DOD have separate clinics in the Monterey Bay area, neither of which currently collaborate nor share resources.
"You cannot enter into the VA without first passing through the Department of Defense, so I am excited to see the two departments working together to provide quality care for our military families and veterans." said Rep. Sam Farr. "This new facility will be a model for how our country cares for individuals who serve our country throughout their entire life."
The Veterans Day ceremony included a large number of local dignitaries and government officials, with speakers that included Farr, Freeman, Brig. Gen. John Cho; (commanding general of the Western Regional Medical Command), and Marina Mayor Bruce Carlos Delgado.
"Today we show the brave men and women who serve, and have served, our country that your government is here to serve you," said Farr.
With shovels and hardhats, the speakers joined veterans, active-duty service members and their military family members to break ground on the new clinic, which will expand existing VA outpatient services to include primary care, specialty care, mental health, ancillary and diagnostic services. The VA/DOD Monterey Bay Health Care Clinic will integrate VA and DOD staff and resources to provide a broad provision of clinical services.
"This exemplifies our VA Palo Alto motto of 'Serving those who Served,' and is why we are breaking ground today," said Freeman.
More information about the VA/DOD Monterey Bay Health Care Clinic can be found at www.paloalto.va.gov/construction_monterey.asp. More photos from the ceremony can be found at www.facebook.com/vapahcs.