VA on the way

Editor:

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) outpatient clinic will become a reality, hopefully by 2016. The Alameda County Veteran Affairs Commission has been working with the VA for close to eight years, preparing our disabled veterans and the community for the opening of the new clinic/columbarium at the former Alameda Naval Air Station. The land will be transferred this year.

Plans call for a 21st century, state-of–the-art medical and mental health facility as well as a critically needed columbarium. The two-story, three-wing clinic will measure 158,000 square feet on 30 acres of land and replace the VA’s current facility on Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Oakland.

More than 9,000 veterans are enrolled in the clinical services in the Oakland/Alameda area, with patient visits up 50 percent in the last five years. Approximately 543 veterans will be seen at the Alameda Point outpatient clinic each weekday and 70 on Saturday and Sunday. The VA anticipates employing a staff of 250, including 26 physicians and 34 nurses. Shuttles will transport veterans from designated locations to the clinic.

The Veterans Health Administration, the Veterans Benefits Administration and the National Cemetery Administration will all have offices at the Alameda Point. The VA is dedicated to fulfilling its promise to take care of our disabled veterans.

— Mark Raymond Chandler