VA wants to build a bigger, better Charlie Norwood hospital

Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center uptown location
Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center uptown location(WRDW)
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 1:49 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Changes could be coming for veteran care in Augusta in the form of a bigger, better and consolidated Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center with a new patient tower off Wrightsboro Road.

In new report from the Department of Veterans Affairs, a committee recommends ending services at the downtown facility on 15th Street, while moving all services to the uptown location on Wrightsboro Road.

The downtown facility currently offers inpatient medical and surgical, spinal and outpatient services. The uptown facility offers inpatient mental health, residential rehabilitation treatment program, nursing home, rehabilitation medicine, blind rehabilitation and outpatient services.

The report says the downtown building, constructed in 1980, is not up to standards, lacks space for future growth and has significant infrastructure issues.

So the committee says all services should be moved to the Wrightsboro Road location and upgraded.

To accommodate the consolidation, a new patient tower should be built at the Wrightsboro Road site, the committee says. A new building is needed because the main structure at the uptown location was built in 1991 and “does not meet the standards for delivering modern acute care due to the functional layout of the building,” according to the report.

Since a new facility is required and the downtown and uptown facilities are 2.5 miles apart, the uptown site is recommended for the consolidated medical center because it sits on a 105-acre site with 30 acres available. There is less room for development at the downtown site.

The consolidation and upgrades also would include:

  • Modernizing the residential rehabilitation treatment program in a new building, creating space for expansion of the ambulatory clinic.
  • Modernizing the nursing home facilities with private rooms.
  • Modernizing mental health patient rooms.
  • Modernizing the inpatient blind rehabilitation unit and expanding its capacity to meet demand due to the possible closure of a similar unit in Birmingham, Ala.

The Charlie Norwood recommendations come as the VA faces increasing enrollment in Georgia, especially around Atlanta, Augusta and Macon/Warner Robins, says the report, which consists of the VA’s recommendations to an asset and infrastructure review commission.

Demand for inpatient medical and surgical services, inpatient mental health care, long-term care, spinal cord injuries and disorders, blind rehabilitation, and outpatient care is increasing, the report states.

So the agency needs to invest in modern facilities that meet current design standards, relocate services closer to veterans and establish new facilities to meet existing and projected veteran demand.

“The strategy for the Georgia Market is intended to provide Veterans with access to high-quality and conveniently located care in modern infrastructure,” the report states.

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